NEWTON, IA — Chevrolet dominated the NTT INDYCAR Series weekend at the Iowa Speedway. They took both victories on consecutive days as well as a clean sweep of the podium in each race as well. However, one of the bright spots for the Honda camp this weekend resided in the Dale Coyne Racing organization.
David Malukas qualified his No. 18 Dallara-Honda in Row 3 on Saturday. He’d finish 14th. On Sunday, Malukas started 14th but came up to finish a career-best 8th for his 2nd top 10 in the last 4 races.
The rookie driver even ran as high as first before making his way down pit lane for his first stop on Lap 69.
In his second stint, Malukas moved up from 18th all the way to 9th before making his second stop under caution on Lap 129. Malukas entered pit lane from eighth on Lap 195 for his third stop of the race.
With a full course caution coming out on Lap 236, the entire field headed to pit lane.
He was running ninth when the race returned to green on Lap 250 and after exchanging positions with his teammate a few times, he went on to cross the finish line in eighth.
“I wasn’t really a fan of Iowa Speedway before today’s race but now I am a massive fan,” he says. “What a joy of a race that was. Although today’s race was 300 laps, it felt much shorter than yesterday. Every lap was either making a pass or setting up for a pass. It was chaos from start to finish but I kept moving up. The only cars that got by us were the McLarens and Penskes. Other than that, no one else could pass us, we were the ones going forward. At the end, I had an amazing battle with my teammate Takuma (Sato). Neither of us made it easy but in the end, I won that little battle, but it was a lot of fun and he pushed me to the end. Thank you to Hy-Vee for putting on such an amazing race weekend.”
Malukas is now just 4 points behind Christian Lundgaard for Rookie of the Year honors with 5 races left in the season.
He was joined in the top 10 on Sunday from his teammate Takuma Sato. The two-time Indy 500 champion led 5 laps with Malukas pacing the field for one himself. Sato would come away in 10th in his No. 51 Dallara-Honda. Starting from fourth, Sato ran in the top 4 for his entire first stint and led a couple of laps before making his first trip down pit lane on Lap 68.
Unfortunately for Sato, he ended up falling to 17th following his stop but made his way back to 12th before taking advantage of a full course caution to make his second stop on Lap 129.
Sato then led another three laps before making what the team hoped would be his final stop on Lap 199.
The team opted for a fuel saving strategy but decided to pit with the rest of the field during a caution on Lap 245 so they could run hard to the end of the 300-lap race with the rest of the field.
Sato went on to battle with his teammate David Malukas, exchanging their 9th and 10th places a few times, before taking the checkered flag in 10th place.
In 12 races this season, Sato has a best finish of seventh at the GMR Grand Prix and a best start of second in Detroit.
“We started from the second row for the second race of the weekend here in Iowa, so that was much better,” he said. “The first part of the race was pretty much ‘follow the leader’ and we left the pack behind, which was good as I ran in the top five that whole time. Then we tried to stretch the fuel window because it’s a 300-lap race and that was our plan, and we were the last to pit with about 100 laps to go. We tried to save fuel to make it until the end because we were confident the rest of the field had to stop again for fuel. In the end the yellow came out and our strategy didn’t work out. Finishing 10th after starting 4th isn’t great but it’s great for the team to have both cars finish in the top 10.”