After scoring a pair of podiums in Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires competition in 2019, David Malukas will return to the series next season with HMD Motorsports. The Chicago, Illinois native recently spoke with POPULAR OPEN WHEEL about his thoughts on this past year and more.
POPULAR OPEN WHEEL: What are your thoughts on returning to Indy Lights with HMD Motorsports in 2020?
DAVID MALUKAS: First initial impression, I’m super excited. There’s been a lot of changes with the team and I think the changes that have been made have been for the better. With the two tests that we’ve done and seeing the chemistry, I think it’s looking to be quite well.
POW: What are your goals for the new season?
MALUKAS: Well, like last season, the goals weren’t super high because it was my first year, and also the team’s first year in Indy Lights. But I mean this year, we did have a good amount of getting on the podium and getting some high positions in races. So I don’t want to go super high, but I’d say a couple podiums and wins – but nothing crazy. Going against Andretti (Autosport) and Juncos (Racing) is – you don’t want them too high, so I’d say a couple podiums is good.
POW: As you reflect back on 2019, what are your thoughts?
MALUKAS: Reflecting on last season, like I said, at the beginning of the year, I wasn’t expecting like, “Oh yeah, we’re going to be up there.” it was more a learning year, learning curve. In the beginning, that’s what it was. We did have some good races, but in the whole season perspective, everything was great. I learned a lot going against good drivers and good opponents. I’ve grown a lot as a driver, but I think internally as a team, it wasn’t great, and I think this next year is what we’re going to fix.
POW: What was your favorite moment from this past season?
MALUKAS: Favourite moment from this past season I think would be the oval race in Gateway. It such a good comeback from Indianapolis and a big crash, to coming back to an oval race and getting on the podium, it was a big experience for me. It was like I took away that curse that was kind of holding me since Indianapolis. It was really good.
POW: What track are you most looking forward to getting back to in your sophomore campaign?
MALUKAS: I’m looking forward to Road America. Road America has been my favorite track since I was a little kid. My dad used to race there as well and I had good years in USF and Pro Mazda, and I want to have a good year in Indy Lights so I can have good results in all three series at that track.
POW: So one race weekend, you’re allowed to bring any three celebrities as guests of yours to a race. Who would you bring along?
MALUKAS; I mean, I would love meet Post Malone so if I could get him out, that’d be great. But that’s about it. Other than celebrities being racing drivers, there’s nothing else that I want to do – except for Post Malone.
POW: Lastly, a little off the racing path, is there a hidden talent that you have that would surprise people?
MALUKAS: That’s a good question. Oh, I used to be a really good ballroom dancer. I still remember a few tricks. Before racing when I was a little kid, I used to go ballroom dancing. So I kind do a little bit of a nice shimmy.
POW: So I guess maybe down the road, we can expect you on Dancing with the stars….
MALUKAS: That would be very nice. Actually, that’d be great. I’d a couple steps and then it’d all come back to me and I’d like be like, “Alright, let’s go….”
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