Dale Coyne Racing Drivers to Start from Row 9 in Birmingham

Leeds, Alabama (Saturday, April 30, 2022) – The pair of Dale Coyne Racing drivers Takuma Sato (#51 Nurtec ODT – Dale Coyne Racing with RWR) and David Malukas (#18 HMD – Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports) will be starting side by side on Sunday in 17th and 18th respectively for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. See below for more details on each driver’s qualifying session.

Takuma Sato Hoping for Exciting Sunday Afternoon at Barber

#51: Takuma Sato, Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda

Leeds, Alabama (Saturday, April 30, 2022) – Takuma Sato took part in qualifying for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on Saturday. While he was on his way to a top six in Round 1, he ended up ninth in his group which guaranteed him a 17th place on the starting grid for Sunday’s main event. 

Starting: 17th
Group 1 / Round 1: 9th
Best Lap: 1:06.7541

  • Sato was sitting sixth when he entered pit lane for a set of Firestone Alternate tires about halfway through the session and was on his way to a top three lap but ended up going off track on his penultimate lap, which cost him a chance of moving on to the next round.
  • He did however register his best time (1:06.7541) in qualifying on his seventh and final lap but it would only place him ninth in his group.
  • Sato ended the final practice session later in the day in an encouraging seventh place. 
  • In his last four races at Barber Motorsports Park, Takuma Sato has three top 10 finishes, including a win from pole in 2019, as well as 8th (2018) and 9th (2017) place finishes.
  • Sato will be making his 12th start on the 2.3-mile 17-turn road course this weekend. 
  • In three races in 2022, Sato has a best finish of 10th on the streets of St. Petersburg and a best start of third at Texas Motor Speedway.

Takuma Sato #51 Nurtec ODT Honda – Dale Coyne Racing with RWR
“It was a busy Saturday. It’s a mix of feelings for me today. On one side, it’s always nice for me to come back here at Barber because I have good memories here, but, unfortunately, we couldn’t find a good speed in qualifying. However, we found some speed in the last practice session on the Alternate Firestone tires. Relatively speaking we made up some ground and moved forward, so that’s encouraging. Tomorrow’s weather forecast can be a bit tricky, which is probably good for us. We’re good with tires for tomorrow so we can do whatever we want to. Now, we’ll tune up our Nurtec ODT car for tomorrow and hopefully we can have an exciting Sunday afternoon.”

Malukas Hopeful for Race Day Following Final Practice

#18: David Malukas, Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Honda

Leeds, Alabama (Saturday, April 30, 2022) – Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports rookie David Malukas was doing well during Round 1 of qualifying for Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama but an off track excursion and light contact with the barrier meant he would have to settle with an 18th place on the starting grid for tomorrow’s race.

Starting: 18th
Group 2 / Round 1: 9th
Best Lap: 1:06.8898

  • Malukas spent the first half of the 10-minute session in the top 6 of his group and was sitting fourth when he entered pit lane for a new set of Firestone alternate tires.
  • He was sitting seventh when he started his final lap. However, Malukas would end up going off course in Turn 13 and unable to improve on his time.
  • The rookie lost his fastest two laps due to causing a red flag.
  • Malukas made progress in the day’s final practice, moving up to ninth on the time sheet.
  • In his last official visit to Barber Motorsports Park in Indy Lights in 2021, the first generation American picked up a win, from pole, and set the fastest lap in Race 2 of the weekend. It was also his first Indy Lights win.
  • So far in his rookie NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, he has a best finish of 11th at Texas, and a best starting position of 18th (Long Beach).

David Malukas – #18 HMD Honda – Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports
“It’s been a tough weekend so far, but we’ve made progress with every session. We had a decent car going into qualifying, I think we found what we needed. I was on a really good lap that could have possibly moved us into the second round of qualifying, but, unfortunately, on that lap someone in front of me put some dust on the track in Turn 9 and while I knew my lap was ‘done’ at that point, I was still committed and continued to push but there was more dust in Turn 13, and I lost it there. I managed to get it straightened out a bit, but it was too late, and I ended up getting some damage. On the bright side, we had a good final practice and I think we’ll have a good pace for the race tomorrow.”

Race Info:
Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
Race 4 of 17
Track length: 2.3-mile, 17-turn permanent road course
Race Distance:  90 laps
 
Schedule (all times local)
Sunday, May 1, 2022
Race broadcast: Noon – 2pm (NBC, Peacock, INDYCAR LIVE!, INDYCAR Radio)
Green Flag: 12:15pm