First Qualifying Session of the Season in the Books

St. Petersburg, FL (Saturday, February 26, 2022) – The first qualifying session of the season for Dale Coyne Racing and its co-entrants Rick Ware Racing and HMD Motorsports didn’t go quite the way they wanted on Saturday with Takuma Sato placing 22nd and David Malukas 24th on the starting grid for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, but both drivers are confident heading into Sunday’s race. Read more below.

Traffic Costly for Takuma Sato in St. Petersburg Qualifying

St. Petersburg, Fl (Saturday, February 26, 2022) – Dale Coyne Racing with RWR driver Takuma Sato got caught out by another competitor during qualifying on Saturday for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The loss of a few tenths of a second meant that Sato had to settle with 22nd on the starting grid.

Starting: 22nd
Group 2 / Round 1
Best Lap: 1:00.2830

•    Sato jumped to the top part of the charts with his first lap in qualifying but then got impeded by a competitor while turning what would have been his fastest lap of the session while on red tires.
•    The two-time Indy 500 Champion was sitting ninth in his group when he entered pit lane for a set of red tires, but he would fall to 11th by the end of the 10-minute session.

Takuma Sato #51 Nurtec ODT Honda – Dale Coyne Racing with RWR
“It was a pretty tough day for our first qualifying together at Dale Coyne Racing with RWR. It’s obviously a disappointing result. It wasn’t easy this morning in practice as I couldn’t get a run on a fresh set of red tires and then someone else hit me from behind and that ended our session. So, in qualifying we didn’t get the balance quite right with the red tires and then I was blocked on my best time by another driver which made me lose a couple of tenths. At that point it was game over for us. We think we have a good race car and hopefully in the warmup we can pick up some speed and have some pace for the first race.”

 David Malukas Gets IndyCar Qualifying Experience Under his Belt

St. Petersburg (Friday, February 26, 2022) – Rookie David Malukas took part in his first qualifying session on Saturday for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, picking up some valuable experience along the way. The session didn’t go quite as he had hoped with a 24th place on the starting grid, but the Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports driver is excited to make his race debut Sunday.

Starting: 24th
Group 2 / Round 1
Best Lap: 1:00.4601

•    The rookie sat in the top six early on in the 10-minute qualifying session and was sitting sixth when he entered pit lane for a fresh set of red tires.
•    While Malukas posted a fastest lap of 1:00.03, he ended up losing his two fastest laps due to qualifying interference. 
•    Had it not been for his penalty, the 20-year-old could have been starting from the ninth row.

David Malukas  #18 HMD Honda – Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports
“What an experience that was for my first NTT INDYCAR SERIES qualifying. It was nice to have the two groups for qualifying because in the practice sessions we were struggling to find a gap. 26 cars on track is a lot, especially with me and my experience coming from Indy Lights, having about half of that. Going into qualifying we had a good gap and were able to put a run in. We did reds for both stints, I’m really new to those because just one lap in practice isn’t enough to learn it. We knew what we needed with the car but we needed to take it that one step higher. All in all it was a great experience. I’m really excited to see how the race is going to go. There’s a lot of strategy so hopefully we can come up with something.”