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Malukas continues “emotional rollercoaster” after qualifying third at Mid-Ohio

by News7

The comeback is in full swing for David Malukas after putting together a remarkable showing in knockout qualifying that ended with him starting third for Sunday’s IndyCar Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

It was only the second qualifying outing of the year for the 22-year-old after an off-season wrist injury led to surgery and led to the termination of his Arrow McLaren contract before going on to join Meyer Shank Racing.

Malukas made his season debut in MSR’s No. 66 Honda in the last round at Laguna Seca with a wrist that was 80% recovered from a mountain biking accident that required surgery. He qualified 12th and was en route to a possible top 10 before a late puncture relegated him to 16th.

On Saturday, Malukas turned the wick up at MSR’s hometrack in Lexington, Ohio. He was second fastest in Group 1 qualifying before settling in fourth during the Top 12 to get into the Fast Six, where he hit a lap of 1m05.6509s around the 2.258-mile, 13-turn natural terrain road course.

In the end, he fell 0.2974s short from the pole time of 1m05.3511s set by Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou.

The result matched a career-best for Malukas, who previously qualified third in the second race of the doubleheader at Iowa Speedway last year.

“Talk about a turnaround,” Malukas said. “This year has been an emotional rollercoaster and just looking back on everything, I’ve been allowed to reach my max potential.

“At Laguna there was so much pace there but with the hand, I had to break it in and get it back to where it needs to be. I knew coming into here the guys have done an incredible job prepping the car, and Josh (engineer) with Honda did an awesome job as well.

“I knew that the set up was there and the car was there and we just had to put it together. It was a perfect situation for me and I couldn’t be happier.”

David Malukas, Meyer Shank Racing Honda

Photo by: Josh Tons / Motorsport Images

Malukas paid tribute to his new team, and how quickly they’ve been able to gel together.

“This team, the chemistry they’ve set up for me, they’ve given me a great environment,” he said. “Going into Laguna, there was a lot of overthinking, how the hand was going to do, and everything was new – as soon as we were fast there, I was like ‘oh man, this is going to be really good’.

“I’ve made a few small changes with my driving to suit the hand, but I knew from all the work we’d done on the sim that we’d be very quick here. I feel incredible here and it’s a big team effort.”

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