Santino Ferrucci, Andretti drivers get physical after on-track practice incident

DETROIT -- In the midst of a manic five-week stretch of the IndyCar calendar and at the series' shortest street course on the calendar, tensions flared Saturday morning between Santino Ferrucci and Andretti Global, leading to the series' first physical pitlane skirmish in recent memory.

Across two separate laps late in the session, the Foyt driver got into it on-track with Colton Herta and then Kyle Kirkwood, who themselves finished Saturday's final practice 1st and 2nd-fastest. According to Herta, Ferrucci jumped him in line with several cars stacked up near the alternate start-finish line, waiting to create gaps for an ideal, unencumbered lap. After weaving down the straight, seemingly attempting to keep Herta behind, the Andretti driver dove inside in Turn 9 to purposefully ruin the Foyt car's lap.

Moments later, with Kirkwood ahead driving gingerly while seemingly trying to create a gap of his own, Ferrucci sped past on the inside before the pair banged wheels -- leaving both thinking the other had caused purposeful, unnecessary on-track contact.

"Santino needs to get kicked out of the series," Kirkwood could be heard saying on the radio after the fact.

With the practice complete, Kirkwood walked over to Ferrucci's pit box to give him a piece of his mind. Before the Andretti driver could even get his head-sock off, Ferrucci leapt over the pit wall and gave Kirkwood a couple shoves.

"You turned into me! You turned into me, you (expletive) piece of (expletive)," the Foyt driver yelled. "Don't you ever (expletive) do that again."

In an interview moments later on Peacock, Ferrucci further explained his ire.

"We're in practice, and I'm on a lap that's going to put us P3. I know everybody's fighting traffic. I'm coming down the hill, and who just turns into somebody and slides the car into you? It's such a (expletive)-ish move," Ferrucci said on the Peacock broadcast. "I grew up karting with (Kirkwood), known him a long time, and I've always been better than him with race craft, but I've never seen him do something like that.

"But you saw him turn into Newgarden yesterday. It's a shame. And then his (teammate Herta) did the same thing. Leave it to them. We're out here doing our own thing."

Kirkwood had a different opinion when told Ferrucci believed Kirkwood was to blame for their contact.

"I don't know what he was trying to do. He ruined his lap and then ruined his next lap, too. It's just dumb. It's dangerous. He drove right into me purposefully and tried to drive me into the wall," Kirkwood said. "It's like, 'What are you getting mad at me for?' It's insane, but we've seen it before with him.

"I was going to tell him it was completely unnecessary. Everyone needs to get their gaps and get a lap in so you can tune your car, but you can't if you're crashing into people."

In reference to the Foyt team's feast-or-famine road and street course results, Kirkwood and Herta noted they didn't expect tensions to crop up again during Sunday's race.

"That guy's a headcase. I'm happy with our program. I don't know what I did to make him mad," Herta said. "He can do his own thing. He's driving a Penske car to 20th for the fifth consecutive weekend, so I'm happy with what we're doing here.

"Our car is fast, and we don't have time for him and his shenanigans in the back. He's always a you-know-what in the race, so that doesn't affect me. Most of the time, I don't race him, so it's not my problem."

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Santino Ferrucci shoves Kyle Kirkwood after fiery IndyCar practice