Possible IndyCar McLaren drivers for 2024: No. 2 – David Malukas
It’s not all that often that you see a driver straight-up say that he is likely to leave his current team due to lack of anticipated progress, but that’s basically what David Malukas revealed early this summer as silly season began to heat up.
And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s refreshing to get a real answer other than “I’m just looking forward to running well this weekend”, even though that too is acceptable.
Malukas is in the second year of a two-year contact to drive the No. 18 Honda for Dale Coyne Racing, but it has been a frustrating season on many accounts.
He started off the season looking like a driver who could compete for top 10 finishes on a regular basis, finishing in 10th place in the season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida and continuing his oval surge with a fourth place effort at Texas Motor Speedway.
But DNF after DNF has been the story since, and despite having recorded twice as many top 10 finishes as he did as a rookie, he finds himself in 16th in the championship standings, which is where he finished last year. He did recently score another podium finish at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, where he placed a career-high second last year.
As for where he might end up in 2023, he said that he has multiple options on the table and used the words “bigger team” to describe said options. Arrow McLaren would certainly qualify, and using their No. 6 Chevrolet to invest in an up-and-coming driver may pay off in the long run.
The 2021 Indy Lights runner-up came to IndyCar in 2022 with Dale Coyne Racing through a partnership with his father’s HMD Motorsports team, but he knows that he may have to compete against his father one day to achieve his ultimate goal.
While success with a small team doesn’t always translate to success in a more competitive car, you don’t have to look back too far to find that Alex Palou finished in 16th place in the 2020 championship standings with an average finish of 14th, three top 10 finishes, and a podium finish while at Dale Coyne Racing.
Malukas posted the exact same statline as Palou, who also finished runner-up in the rookie standings. The latter is now a two-time champion.