David Malukas is on the cusp of completing a perfect weekend at Road America.
Fresh off scoring a pair of pole positions in qualifying for the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires doubleheader at the track in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, the 16-year-old from Chicago led all 15 laps in Race 1 on Friday to score his and BN Racing’s first victory in the Mazda Road to Indy.
It was a win to savor for the driver of the No. 79 BN Racing Mazda/Tatuus PM-18, who couldn’t help but recall last year’s run in Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda race when he started on pole but finished second.
“To come back a year later and get this revenge, it feels really good,” Malukas said. “This track being my home track – I only live two hours away from here and this is my absolute favorite track – the flow and everything clicks with the car. As you can tell with the pole and lap times, we’ve been really quick here. So just to do it this time here, it’s just a really good feeling.”
BN Racing’s day was made even more special as newly signed teammate Toby Sowery (No. 78 BN Racing) finished 1.4528 seconds behind Malukas to give the team a 1-2 finish. Sowery also set the quickest lap of the race at 2 minutes, 1.3306 seconds (119.099 mph).
Harrison Scott (No. 10 RP Motorsport Racing) took the final spot of the podium in third, followed by championship leader Parker Thompson (No. 90 Exclusive Autosport) in fourth.
The second Pro Mazda race of the weekend will stream live at 3:05 p.m. ET Saturday on RaceControl.IndyCar.com.
Franzoni collects first Indy Lights pole
Victor Franzoni scored his first Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires pole in a thrilling qualifying for the first race of the Road America doubleheader weekend.
Racing with a heavy heart after the recent tragic death of Jeff Green, Franzoni’s teammate last year in Pro Mazda, the 22-year-old Brazilian willed his No. 23 Juncos Racing Mazda/Dallara IL-15 to the top of the charts with a lap of 1 minute, 53.1884 seconds (127.667 mph). The time was good enough to edge two-time series runner-up Santi Urrutia (No. 5 Belardi Auto Racing) by 0.0942 of a second.
“I think we still can find more speed,” said Franzoni, the 2017 Pro Mazda champion. “On the next lap after (the pole lap), I was going a little bit faster and I made a mistake, but that’s part of the thing. You’re trying, you’re on the limit all the time. It was good. I’m super happy.”
Points leader Colton Herta (No. 98 Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing) will start third, directly ahead of title rival and teammate Pato O’Ward (No. 27 Andretti Autosport).
Race 1 starts at 1 p.m. ET Saturday with qualifying for the second race at 9 a.m. Both will stream live at RaceControl.IndyCar.com.
Lindh sweeps poles in qualifying for USF2000 races
Rasmus Lindh pulled out a last-gasp flyer in the final moments of qualifying to take pole for the first race of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda doubleheader at Road America, then followed by nabbing the top spot in Race 2 qualifying later Friday.
The first session was more notable as the 16-year-old Swede lapped the 4.014-mile, 14-turn permanent road course in 2 minutes, 9.2583 seconds (111.795 mph), shattering the previous qualifying record set a year ago by Rinus VeeKay by 1.3819 seconds.
Lindh led a solid day for Pabst Racing, based 90 minutes south of the Elkhart Lake track in Oconomowoc. All four team drivers qualified among the top six for the first race, with Lindh first, Calvin Ming third, Kaylen Frederick fourth and Lucas Kohl sixth. Pabst swept the top three spots for the second race, with Lindh first, Frederick second and Kohl third.
The first race starts at 2:10 p.m. ET Saturday. Race 2 is at 9 a.m. Sunday. Both races stream live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com.