Portland Indy Lights: Malukas in seventh heaven
David Malukas’s HMD Motorsports entry scored a dominant win at Portland, while prime title rival Andretti Autosport’s Kyle Kirkwood performed damage control, climbing from fifth to second.
When the three leading Global Racing Group/HMD Motorsports cars and fifth-place starter Kyle Kirkwood of Andretti Autosport blew through the chicane on Lap 1, the race went under yellow, and a restart was called.
This time there were no errors. Polesitter David Malukas fended off teammate Linus Lundqvist, with Benjamin Pedersen, HMD’s new arrival Manuel Sulaiman holding down third and fourth.
Kirkwood tucked into fifth ahead of his Andretti teammates Robert Megennis and Danial Frost, with Rasmus Lindh and Sting Ray Robb in eighth and ninth for Juncos Hollinger.
At the start of Lap 7, Kirkwood drafted past Sulaiman for fourth, and then pounced when Pedersen appeared to miss a gear exiting Turn 2.
He was now within a second of Lundquist who next time by had to take the defensive inside line into Turn 1 to stave off the charging Andretti driver. However, their battling had allowed Malukas to pull a three-second advantage up front.
On Lap 11, Indy Lights debutant Sulaiman ran wide at Turn 7, relinquishing sixth to Frost, while more significantly Kirkwood on Lap 14 outbraked Lundqvist for second. Still, Malukas appeared serene out front, 5.5sec clear. That remained the gap past the halfway point of this 30sec race.
On Lap 21, Frost made an error while trying to pass Megennis, and both Sulaiman and fellow Indy Lights debutant Lindh were able to pounce and move up to sixth and seventh respectively.
Over the remaining laps Kirkwood did all he could to close the 5.5sec gap to Malukas, pulling three seconds on Lundqvist, but no one was going to deny Malukas his seventh win of the year to extend his points advantage to 10 points.
Sulaiman and Lindh finished their debuts in sixth and seventh respectively.
|1||David Malukas||30||LAP 30||29||1||Active||HMD Motorsports||403|
|2||Kyle Kirkwood||30||5.4196||5||Active||Andretti Autosport||393|
|3||Linus Lundqvist||30||8.3935||2||Active||Global Racing Group w/HMD Motorsports||334|
|4||Benjamin Pedersen||30||11.0290||1||3||Active||Global Racing Group w/HMD Motorsports||264|
|5||Robert Megennis||30||13.6595||6||Active||Andretti Autosport||242|
|6||Manuel Sulaiman||30||15.9498||4||Active||HMD Motorsports||15|
|7||Rasmus Lindh||30||17.4796||9||Active||Juncos Hollinger Racing||14|
|8||Danial Frost||30||18.1948||7||Active||Andretti Autosport||257|
|9||Sting Ray Robb||30||19.3916||10||Active||Juncos Hollinger Racing||181|
|11||Devlin DeFrancesco||26||4 LAPS||8||Active||Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport||255|
Gateway Indy Lights: Malukas beats Kirkwood after hard scrap
Portland Indy Lights: Kirkwood defies odds, defeats HMD trio