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David Malsher-Lopez

Coyne-HMD keeping Malukas, uncertain over third car for 2023

Asked by if he thought Malukas was being courted by other teams, Coyne responded: “I’m sure they’re interested. Why wouldn’t they be? He’s doing a great job, he’s showing how fast he is.

“But we have a contract with him and I believe he’ll honor that because I think he knows that this is the best environment for him at this stage in his career. He fits in so well with us, you see his confidence growing with every race, he works really well with Ross [Bunnell, race engineer] Taku [Sato, his teammate].

“I think he’s good for us and we’re good for him. And hopefully we can get this Rookie of the Year trophy.”

Heading into this weekend's season finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Malukas sits just five points behind Christian Lundgaard of Rahal Letterman Lanigan-Honda in the fight for the Rookie of the Year title. His highlight has been a second place at Gateway’s World Wide Technology Raceway.

Henry Malukas, who runs the successful HMD Motorsports Indy Lights team, and who is now partnered with Coyne both in IndyCar and Indy Lights, agreed with Coyne.

“Yes, David is staying here,” he said. “I didn’t follow IndyCar so closely until this year, but now I see this man’s [Coyne’s] operation, I am very impressed. It’s worked well.

“And David’s not staying because he’s forced by the contract or anything like that. He’s staying because he wants to… And because we like dealing with Dale. He’s straight, none of this stuff [makes S-bends with his hand].

“We need to see the pitstops improve, but Dale knows all that and they already are better.

“And the cars are good too. We’ve seen them strong on ovals, street races… I would like David to win a championship with Dale!”

There is a driver evaluation day set for Oct. 12 at Sebring, and Dale said his team “might do it”. Should he do so, Indy Lights champion-elect and HMD Motorsports driver Linus Lundqvist is on his list of possibles.

But with Sato set to remain in the Dale Coyne Racing with RWR car – if he stays in IndyCar, his contract states that it must be with Coyne, whether he’s part-time or full-time – evaluating drivers for 2023 is not necessarily high on Coyne’s priority list.

“About the third car, we’re not sure – we’re still waiting on Honda and we don’t know how it’s going to play out yet. Linus would be top of the list if we do run a third, sure. He’s done a good job this year.

“But we’re also looking in Europe and over here, too.”

Juncos Hollinger Racing, which announced this week that it will expand to two full-time entries this year, is set to evaluate Formula 2 race-winner, Marcus Armstrong, while Benjamin Pedersen who last weekend scored his first Indy Lights victory, is to be evaluated by AJ Foyt Racing, to potentially replace the Andretti Autosport-bound Kyle Kirkwood.

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