Malukas shines this weekend at Mid-Ohio, caps it with an 9th place finish in Sunday’s Honda Indy 200

LEXINGTON, Ohio — I wrote on Saturday how I was watching the rookies now for Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. There were 3 of them in the top 10 of the starting lineup on an afternoon that saw the top 3 in points get eliminated in the opening round. Kyle Kirkwood had never lost any of his 6 races here in the Road to Indy. Callum Ilott was in the top 10 again on a natural road course while David Malukas was quietly excelling.

Kirkwood found the wall and finished 26th. Ilott, who started 10th had a mechanical failure and would reside in 23rd in the end.

Maluas was the one shining in the end.

The Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports driver brought his No. 18 Dallara-Honda home in 9th to cap a very respectable weekend on the 2.258-mile rural Ohio road course.

He fell to ninth in the opening laps from his eighth place on the starting grid, then moved up to seventh on a Lap 13 restart and ran in that position until his first pit stop on Lap 26.

He was running 11th when a full course caution came out on Lap 31 but he would fall back to 13th 10 laps later when the action returned to green. Following a Lap 58 restart, gradually made his way back into the Top 10, before taking over ninth place on Lap 64.

He’d say there the rest of the way making this his first top 10 result of the season. He finished 11th twice earlier this year at Detroit and Texas Motor Speedway. This one though, it was special.

“It’s our first top 10 finish,” Malukas said. “I’m really happy with a ninth place after starting eighth. The yellow flags were the worst thing that could have happened to us but we still managed to get a P9 out of it. We had some really good racing with veterans. I went inside and outside of Pagenaud and Harvey and then was behind Castroneves. It was cool to see what they were doing and learn from following them as well. Overall, I’m really happy with our race.”

We shouldn’t be shocked by this. Malukas is a hell of a talent. He was in the true Rookie of the Year still in my opinion for this year’s Indy 500. He’s shown to have a ton of talent and a lot of speed and is inching closer to being rookie of the year for the season in general now.

This weekend, he was 8th in Friday’s practice, 4th on Saturday morning and quickest in Sunday morning’s warmup. On a day that saw so much chaos, he flew under the radar to finish 9th for his 1st career top 10 finish.

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