Possible David Malukas IndyCar landing spots: No. 3 – Andretti Autosport
Michael Andretti has, on multiple occasions, demonstrated his faith in the Road to Indy ladder, most recently by bringing in 2021 Indy Lights champion Kyle Kirkwood. Would he jump at the opportunity to bring in the runner-up?
Everybody is operating under the impression that Devlin DeFrancesco won’t be back for a third season behind the wheel of the No. 29 Steinbrenner entry, and it seems to be somewhat of a safe assumption.
There was a rumor that the team tried to replace DeFrancesco mid-season, though that was never confirmed. Andretti Autosport have made a lineup change after four straight seasons, and a fifth seems inevitable.
On just three occasions has DeFrancesco finished in the top half of the field since joining the team last year, and he hasn’t finished higher than 12th place. In fact, the belief is that he will replace David Malukas at Dale Coyne Racing. Could this be an effective seat swap?
Here’s an interesting stat: the Steinbrenner entry had as many top 11 finishes in the 2020 season finale alone as it has in the almost three seasons since.
That has to change, or it will continue to reflect poorly on the entire team. Malukas himself has seven top 10 finishes with a much smaller team since last year alone.
There’s also still a chance that the No. 28 Honda finds itself with a new driver next year, with or without sponsorship from DHL. A contract extension for Romain Grosjean was once seen as a matter of when, not if, but a recent stretch of disappointing results and unforced errors has some questioning whether or not he will be back.
Andretti Autosport simply cannot compete with the sport’s other top teams with an ongoing lack of stability. Is pairing Malukas with two other young stars in Kirkwood and Colton Herta, and presumably also Marcus Ericsson, the answer?