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Joey Barnes

HMD Motorsports set for IndyCar split with Dale Coyne Racing

The two organizations came together in 2021 with David Malukas rising from Indy NXT into North America’s premier open-wheel championship in Coyne’s No. 18 Honda-powered entry.

Although brief in partnership, the group was able to claim a pair of podiums – both at the oval formerly known as Gateway in each of the past two seasons – despite having significantly less resources than rivals like Andretti Autosport, Arrow McLaren, Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske, among others.

Mike Maurini, general manager of HMD Motorsports, confirmed to that a split is imminent.

“I can say that HMD will 99% not be with Dale Coyne Racing,” Maurini said of next season.

Malukas, 21, is set for a move elsewhere, with all signs pointing to Arrow McLaren to replace Felix Rosenqvist, who was recently announced to drive for Meyer Shank Racing next year.

But the decision to part from Coyne was not a byproduct of the Chicago-born American-Lithuanian leaving, according to Maurini.

“Two years ago, when David started there, there was a possible expansion or an alignment with Dale Coyne Racing,” Maurini said. “Just seeing everything, how we want to do things and how our path is on the Indy NXT level versus what we want to do in the future, it just didn't align with what we wanted.”

Coyne previously mentioned that Malukas’ departure would likely have an impact on the partnership with HMD moving forward. Additionally, Malukas shared with his next move he “will be splitting parts with HMD”.

Christian Rasmussen,HMD Motorsports

Although HMD is well set within Indy NXT, with Christian Rasmussen leading the championship going into the final weekend, the organization’s return to IndyCar in future would likely look different.

“That's yet to be determined,” Maurini said. “If there is a chance and it's the right opportunity, then yeah, we would probably jump at it.

“I think right now, the major focus for us is we've won the Indy NXT Championship last year and we're trying to win hopefully, on Saturday this year. Trying to win Rookie of the Year as well and trying to finish the shop.”

Work to finish its new headquarters based in Brownsburg, Indiana, is well underway, with floors, the raising of steel, and plumbing being prepped as it inches closer to completion.

“We can't do a lot without the extra space right now,” Maurini said. “We're essentially in 6,500 or 7,000 square feet and we're going to go to 80,000 square feet.

“It should be done sometime between New Year's and Christmas. That is the first thing that's priority right now for us.”

David Malukas, Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Honda pit stop (Photo by: Geoffrey M. Miller / Motorsport Images)

The goal remains to have HMD Motorsports in the IndyCar Series, while also continuing to operate in Indy NXT.

“That's the dream, I guess you could say,” Maurini said. “We're working towards that.

“But you can't build a puzzle until you have the outer edges done, and we need to get the outer edges done before we fill in the inside of it. All the pieces are on the table. It's just a matter of we have to push everything around in the right direction first.”

Why the Indy NXT program is such a key component to HMD’s success is the business model as it eyes a fundamental plan for IndyCar involvement.

“What we want to do is we want build our own pipeline to be able to take drivers from Indy NXT to IndyCar and provide them with a high-level program that can... we want to beat the lower-level teams,” Maurini said.

“We want to be mid-pack, but it gives the opportunity for those drivers to learn and maybe punch above their weight a little bit and they can get picked up. If they get picked up by a Ganassi, a McLaren, a Penske or an Andretti, we're not going to hold anybody back.

“I think that's even a bigger selling feature for us; for a driver to come from our Indy NXT level, go into a potential IndyCar program, punch above their weight for one or two years, and then get picked up and maybe be a paid driver that's running with a championship-caliber team. That's the perfect marketing for us.”

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