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Malukas smashes St. Petersburg track record in Indy Lights qualifying

by Ida Wood

Photo: Gavin Baker Photography/Road to Indy

David Malukas set a new track for Indy Lights around St. Petersburg in qualifying for this year’s second race on the street circuit.

Linus Lundqvist (Global Racing Group with HMD Motorsports) and Danial Frost (Andretti Autosport) laid down the first few benchmarks, trading top spot through the first quarter of the half-hour session.

They were the first to break into the 1m05s, before Malukas blew both out of the park with a lap 0.4 seconds faster than theirs. Frost responded with a 1m05.3669s, and then improved by another tenth of a second as race one poleman Kyle Kirkwood slotted into second place ahead of Malukas.

Lundqvist then returned to first place before the drivers headed to the pits to change tyres for their second runs, heading Kirkwood by 0.0145s.

It took a while in those second runs before the tyres came alive and drivers were setting personal bests again, with Malukas going fastest with six minutes to go. Next time around he then beat Patricio O’Ward’s track record and became the first ever driver to do a sub-1m05s lap.

Frost also narrowly bettered the old record by moving back into second place, a position he soon conceded to Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport’s Devlin DeFrancesco.

Malukas then went even faster, setting an incredible 1m04.6491s that was 0.3901s up on the record set in 2018.

Kirkwood and DeFrancesco also broke into the 1m04s in the final two minutes to qualify second and third, with Frost shuffled back to fourth ahead of Carlin with Jay Howard Driver Development’s Alex Peroni.

Juncos Racing’s Toby Sowery jumped up to sixth place at the very end, demoting points leader Lundqvist down to seventh on the grid.

The whole 13-car grid was covered by just 1.1777s on laptime, with Peroni’s team-mate Christian Bogle propping up the order but doing an impressive job.

Qualifying results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 David Malukas HMD Motorsports 1m04.6491s 22
2 Kyle Kirkwood Andretti Autosport 1m04.8431s +0.1940s 23
3 Devlin DeFrancesco Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport 1m04.9869s +0.3378s 23
4 Danial Frost Andretti Autosport 1m05.0069s +0.3578s 22
5 Alex Peroni Carlin w/ JHDD 1m05.1084s +0.4593s 23
6 Toby Sowery Juncos Racing 1m05.1485s +0.4994s 20
7 Linus Lundqvist Global Racing Group w/ HMD 1m05.1637s +0.5146s 22
8 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport 1m05.2829s +0.6338s 23
9 Benjamin Pedersen Global Racing Group w/ HMD 1m05.4281s +0.6963s 23
10 Antonio Serravalle Pserra Racing 1m05.5545s +0.9054s 21
11 Sting Ray Robb Juncos Racing 1m05.5575s +0.9084s 17
12 Nikita Lastochkin HMD Motorsports 1m05.6570s +1.0079s 20
13 Christian Bogle Carlin w/ JHDD 1m05.8268s +1.1777s 23