Home Featured Malukas moves into Indy Lights lead with second oval win

Malukas moves into Indy Lights lead with second oval win

by Ida Wood

Photo: Gavin Baker Photography / Road to Indy

David Malukas has taken the Indy Lights points lead from Kyle Kirkwood after beating him in a straight duel for race two honours at the Gateway oval.

Andretti Autosport driver Kirkwood started from pole and led without an issue until he encountered the first lapped traffic on lap 25 of what was supposed to be a 70-lap race.

As he moved past the backmarkers that allowed the chasing Malukas to close in, and on lap 31 Kirkwood had to defend from the HMD Motorsports driver for the first time. Malukas even got close enough to think about making a move but he was scuppered as the race went under caution and all the drivers were then led to the pitlane to change tyres.

The unusual 11-minute stoppage occurred following several tyre failures in Friday’s race, which led to that encounter being shortened, and so it was decided to red flag the second race to allow drivers to replace the high-wearing front-right tyre.

Kirkwood led away on the restart on lap 35 and once again was the quicker driver earlier on. However Malukas didn’t let him get away, and on lap 39 he went for the outside of the leader at turn one of four.

The pair then ran side-by-side through the next three laps until Malukas finally got ahead at turn three on lap 41 after almost being squeezed into the barriers. Malukas quickly pulled away once ahead, but then in a mirror of his gains it was Kirkwood who then started closing in the longer the stint went on and got the gap down to two tenths of a second briefly.

Their battle was ended by Kirkwood’s team-mate Danial Frost peeling to the pits with a tyre failure, prompting the race to be put under caution and then shortened by eight laps.

Malukas’s win puts him three points ahead of Kirkwood in the title race, while Global Racing Group with HMD’s Benjamin Pedersen jumps from seventh to fourth in the standings by completing the race podium.

Linus Lundqvist finished fourth in the HMD car previously raced by Nikita Lastochkin after his own car was damaged in race one, and Devlin DeFrancesco passed Frost for fifth before the latter’s trip to the pits.

Carlin with Jay Howard Driver Development’s Alex Peroni was promoted to sixth off the back of that, having fought his way by Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Toby Sowery early on.

Sting Ray Robb and Antonio Serravalle both pitted during the race, with Serravalle failing to return to the action.

Race results (62 laps)
Pos Driver Team Gap
1 David Malukas HMD Motorsports 47m57.8184s
2 Kyle Kirkwood Andretti Autosport +0.4572s
3 Benjamin Pedersen Global Racing Group w/HMD +1.8575s
4 Linus Lundqvist HMD Motorsports +2.6537s
5 Devlin DeFrancesco Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport +3.0613s
6 Alex Peroni Carlin w/ JHDD +4.7514s
7 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport +5.7496s
8 Toby Sowery Juncos Hollinger Racing +8.1391s
9 Christian Bogle Carlin w/ JHDD +1 lap
10 Danial Frost Andretti Autosport +2 laps
11 Sting Ray Robb Juncos Hollinger Racing +5 laps
Ret Antonio Serravalle Pserra Racing
Fastest lap: Kirkwood, 28.4304s

Championship standings
1 Malukas 371   2 Kirkwood 368   3 Lundqvist 312   4 Pedersen 245   5 DeFrancesco 245   6 Frost 244   7 Sowery 236   8 Peroni 228   9 Megennis 225   10 Robb 169