Malukas on his weekend at St. Pete: “Oh boy”

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Dale Coyne driver’s declarations after the season opener in St. Pete.

Photo: Penske Entertainment | Chris Owens

David Malukas starts his second season in NTT IndyCar Series with a top-10 finish, at the season opener in St. Pete. The driver of the no. 18 Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports Honda had an eventful weekend, but with the chaotic race, he could score good points.

Malukas qualified 16th and was ahead of the chaos at the start. After the red flag, he misjudged his move and made contact with Marcus Armstrong’s rear wheel, causing the rookie a puncture.

He was penaliwed with a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact and fell down the order from 13th to 19th and had to climb up the field. With the chaos unveiling in front, Malukas had a solid race and could even lead for two laps before pitting for his last stint.He took the chequered flag in 10th and scored 21 points.“We just finished the race and, oh boy, what a race it was! It reminded me a lot of Nashville with a lot of yellows – very long yellows. Everybody’s tyres got very cold and every time we restarted nobody could turn. There was no grip. It’s kind of what happened in Nashville.

“We ended up getting a penalty, unfortunately. One of the drivers in front of me [Marcus Armstrong] broke very early and I wasn’t expecting it and I punctured his tyre, so in return I got a drive-through penalty. I don’t think that was the most fair thing, but I understand why they did it. But that didn’t stop us. “I had Mike Maurini in my ear, and he was motivating me and boosting my ego, and was really hyping me up and I felt amazing. We pushed and pushed and pushed. This is the most exhausted I’ve been, but also one of the best races we’ve had. Even though the drive through penalty put me all the way in the back, we still finished with a top-ten. I am really happy. Thank you to the entire Dale Coyne Crew, HMD Motorsports and everybody involved.”