MADISON, Ill — Tires were the story of the weekend for Indy Lights at World Wide Technology Raceway. With issues of cording and cut tires for Friday’s race, the event was cut short by nine full laps while already under caution. That prompted series officials to made adjustments for Saturday’s race in shortening it to 70 laps as well as putting in a competition caution on Lap 35 to come down pit road and change tires under controlled stops.
Still, that wasn’t enough. Following more cut tires, the race was shortened by a few laps with David Malukas sweeping both races on the 1.25-mile track this weekend.
Malukas, now has six wins this season including 11 podiums overall in his No. 79 entry. He takes back over the points lead after coming into the race weekend 11 points down to now being 3 points up.
The HMD driver has scored six podiums in his last seven tries on the season including 12 top fives in 14 races run overall.
He had a hell of a battle with pole sitter Kyle Kirkwood once the competition caution period ended as they went several laps side-by-side around the entire track that resides in the shadows of the Gateway Arch. Malukas, said that he knew Kirkwood’s moves and his preferred line and was able to use that to his advantage to eventually clear him on Lap 40.
Kirkwood, had to settle for runner-up again and now trails in the standings by three. He’s had four straight top two finishes on the year including seven top two’s in his last eight tries. Furthermore, he’s had nine podiums now this season with six wins and three runner-ups among them.
Combined, Malukas and Kirkwood have now won every race since the second race of the GMR Grand Prix race weekend back in May. That spans nine races and 10 of the last 11 in general.
Benjamin Pedersen rallied to finish third again for his fourth podium of the year. Linus Lundqvist overcame a crash on Friday to race a backup car to finish fourth while Devlin DeFrancesco rounds out the top five.
Lundqvist, was 25 points out entering the weekend but now trails by 59 with him now having a podium in each of his last six races. By comparison, he had six podiums in the first eight.
Pedersen, storms up to fourth in points (-126) in a tie with DeFrancesco who now has 10 top seven results in the last 11 races.
This championship is likely coming down to Maulkas vs. Kirkwood with the only difference between the two being Maulkas finishing 13th in St. Pete and Kirkwood 12th in Road America 2. If either of those finishes is better for the duo, the advantage is obviously bigger.