Dale Coyne Racing with RWR driver Sting Ray Robb in the No.51 Biohaven Honda made his NTT INDYCAR SERIES race debut with the team in the 2023 season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg presented by RP Funding on Sunday.
Robb started the race from 23rd place and was caught up in the Turn 3 incident on the opening lap of the race.
The team had to wait to repair the car due to the red flag that came out after the track was blocked following the incident.
Robb recovered in the race and came home in 15th and speaking following the action he said:
“What a day! We started P23, at the back of the field. We went to turn 3 on the opening lap and we were involved in that incident and had some contact on all four corners but somehow, I was able to make it back to pit lane. The guys changed the tires, made a couple of repairs and they sent me back out. We went down a lap at some point during the race, but got it back later in the race and saw I think everything that is possible in a race today! I learned a lot. The last stint was pretty good and I’m very happy to finish where we did. I mean, considering where we started the race and the turn three incident, this is a good result. So, a huge shout out to the crew. They worked their tail ends off this weekend and, that 51 Honda was still pretty good at the end of it all.”
David Malukas in the No.18 HMD Motorsports Honda started the race from 16th and moved up to 13th.
Malukas was handed an avoidable contact penalty on lap 10 and fell down to 19th from P11.
Malukas made his way up to the top ten ahead of his first stop on lap 34.
During his second stint, Malukas led the race and came home in 10th place and speaking following the action he commented saying:
We just finished the race and, oh boy, what a race it was! It reminded me a lot of Nashville with a lot of yellows – very long yellows. Everybody’s tires got very cold and every time we restarted nobody could turn. There was no grip. It’s kind of what happened in Nashville.
“We ended up getting a penalty, unfortunately. One of the drivers in front of me broke very early and I wasn’t expecting it and I punctured his tire, so in return I got a drive through penalty. I don’t think that was the most fair thing, but I understand why they did it. But that didn’t stop us. I had Mike Maurini in my ear, and he was motivating me and boosting my ego, and was really hyping me up and I felt amazing. We pushed and pushed and pushed. This is the most exhausted I’ve been, but also one of the best races we’ve had. Even though the drive through penalty put me all the way in the back, we still finished with a top-ten. I am really happy. Thank you to the entire Dale Coyne Crew, HMD Motorsports and everybody involved.”
Next up is the PPG 375 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 2, the first oval race of the season.