Malukas’ Stellar Rookie Season Comes to a Close
Salinas, CA (Sunday, September 11, 2022) – Dale Coyne Racing and drivers David Malukas (#18 HMD Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports) and Takuma Sato (#51 Nurtec ODT – Dale Coyne Racing with RWR) saw their season come to a close on Sunday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with 13th (Malukas) and 23rd (Sato) place finishes. Details for both drivers are below.
Malukas’ Stellar Rookie Season Comes to a Close with a 13th Place Finish
Salinas, CA (Sunday, September 11, 2022) – David Malukas (#18 HMD Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports) didn’t have the season finale he was hoping for on Sunday as he crossed the finish line in 13th place at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, but overall the rookie driver showed his worth throughout the season.
- Malukas was able to maintain his sixth position at the start of the race and headed to pit lane on Lap 11 for a used set of alternate tires.
- Unfortunately, the rookie was struggling with tire degradation, and he had to return to pit lane on Lap 22 for a set of primary Firestone Tires.
- The early stop meant that he fell to 20th after exiting pit lane, however, he did cycle back up to 11th before making his third stop on Lap 38.
- When the race resumed after a caution period on Lap 43, Malukas was running 16th, from there he battled back up and was running 12th when he entered pit lane for his final stop on Lap 66.
- While he ran a strong pace in his final stints, the rookie had to settle with a 13th place finish to end the season.
- With today’s result, Malukas ended up second in the Rookie of the Year battle.
- Overall, this season, Malukas had a best finish of second at World Wide Technology Raceway and a best starting position of fifth (Toronto). He finished in the top 10 three times and started in the top 10 seven times.
David Malukas, #18 Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports Honda
“We really struggled today with tire degradation. The car wasn’t really feeling it. Which kind of stinks because in warm up we were really good on both tire compounds. That yellow came out at a bad time for us. So the last two stints we had to go long but I managed to salvage a 13th place finish. All in all, it was a tough race, but overall looking back at the season, for a rookie, it was a good season for us. At the start of the season, I made rookie mistakes, but I learned from them, and we continued to move forward and from the Month of May, connecting with the team we really just took off. The second half of the season was everything more than I could ask for. Thank you to Dale Coyne Racing, HMD Motorsports, everyone did an amazing job. Now onto next year.”
Sato’s 2022 Season Ends with Reflections of Stellar Moments
Salinas, CA (Sunday, September 11, 2022) – Takuma Sato (#51 Nurtec ODT- Dale Coyne Racing with RWR) didn’t have the race he wanted at the season finale but reflecting back on highlights of the year he ran strong at Indy, Texas and Gateway and brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team.
- Sato had great start to the race moving up to 17th place from his 22nd place on the starting grid on the first lap.
- Electing for a three-stop strategy, he had made his way to eighth by the time he entered pit lane on Lap 16.
- He then battled his way back following his stop and was running 18th when he made his second stop on Lap 38.
- Having tangled with another car on track, Sato aggravated an injury to his thumb but continued to run strong.
- He pit from 23rd on lap 68 and went on to finish the race in that position.
- In 17 races this season, Sato had a best finish of fifth (World Wide Technology Raceway) and a best starting position of second on the streets of Detroit this year. He finished in the top 10 four times and started in the top 10 six times.
Takuma Sato #51 Nurtec ODT Honda – Dale Coyne Racing with RWR
“The final race of the season was a really long one! I had a very good start. Strategy-wise it was a mixture across the field. Because of tires a lot had to do the four-stop strategy but we stuck with the three stop and didn’t quite have the pace. Plus, I had a little tangle with another car, and I already had some issues with my thumb but now it’s officially broken. So not a good day. I tried hanging on. Thank you to everyone for all the support. The 51 boys at Dale Coyne Racing with RWR, it was a privilege to have a great season with them. It’s a shame that we didn’t have a good finish today but it was great fun and I’m really happy to be a part of the team.”