Malukas Ready For Its First Indycar Start In 2024

Malukas Ready For Its First Indycar Start In 2024

After recuperating from an offseason wrist injury, Jettisoned Arrow McLaren's signing will make his first IndyCar Series start of 2024 this weekend at Laguna Seca for a rival team.

David Malukas was being confirmed as the last driver to join Arrow McLaren's 2024 lineup the last time the IndyCar Series visited Laguna Seca. It happened on September 8, 2023.

In 283 days, Malukas will make his season debut at the famed 2.238-mile natural terrain road circuit in the No. 66 Honda of Meyer Shank Racing, sharing the driving duties with Felix Rosenqvist, the man he was recruited to succeed at Arrow McLaren.

This 2024 will be "definitely an emotional roller coaster for me," Malukas said. "This year was one of character development, and we're back."

The Chicago-born driver's early promise of offseason testing soon after signing with Arrow McLaren was abruptly dashed on February 11, 2024, when he sustained injuries in a mountain biking accident that necessitated surgery and kept him out of the race from the beginning of the season.

The team ended his contract after four rounds, including the non-points exhibition at The Thermal Club, on April 29, 2024, ending any chance of a comeback with Arrow McLaren. They gave the excuse that it was "due to him being unavailable for the entirety of the season to date, with no confirmed return date."

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"It was difficult when everything happened," Malukas said. It was undoubtedly one of the hardest things I had to go through psychologically, to be honest.

"There were some really difficult days, particularly following my termination and the very dark period in my life."

He looked to his parents, Henry and Daiva Malukas, who emigrated to the US from their native Lithuania in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, he still had a lot of internal thoughts that he needed to resolve on his own.

"When you're going through it, your brain tends to say, 'This is over, it's done,' as soon as you kind of have so much pressure and things going down," Malukas said. It just considers the worst case scenario and switches to plan Z.

"My parents were present. My parents had a difficult time getting to America from Lithuania. Not a penny, not a word of English. They had a great deal of hardship, even worse than I am. They were the ones that could relate to me the most, thus they were the ones who supported me through it.

They never stopped challenging me and inspiring me. We persisted in it. created content for IndyCar in May. grinned. I maintained my optimism and knew it will happen.

That chance came from Meyer Shank Racing, which only 10 days ago, after benching Tom Blomqvist due to a difficult season opener, announced the 22-year-old for the balance of the run.

Malukas also reflects on how he had to develop a new degree of mental toughness in order to endure this circumstance during the last several months.

Malukas said, "It's changed me quite a bit." When you think back on those types of events, your mind starts to wander a little bit, and you begin to wonder why things are happening to you and what the logic is.

Regarding myself, I kind of think that everything occurs for a purpose. That, in my opinion, was done in order to develop into the best driver I can be and to realize my potential.

"That was definitely what I needed to get there, to try really hard, to just be better than I was before." For me, those few months were very difficult. I believe that was all necessary.

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"At this point, we can look ahead and clearly get better at driving than I would have."

Throughout his recuperation, Malukas has continued to rely on Sean Smith, the trainer at Arrow McLaren.

In any case, Malukas will also not enter this weekend unprepared. He participated in the IndyCar hybrid test at the Milwaukee Mile last week, clocking 111 laps and finishing ninth out of 20 drivers on the timesheets, in addition to spending several days running in the simulator.

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Malukas said, "It's feeling very good," referring to his wrist, which he claimed is about 80% recovered. "I wasn't really too worried going into the Milwaukee test."

"It's only an oval, so it doesn't put too much pressure on the left hand or wrist. On the steering wheel, hardly much moves. Also, there are more left-handers. Because the repaving is harder on the wheels, Laguna will be a question mark.

"We're going to investigate our options. Many things may be done on the automobile side to aid with steering, and many of them have already been done from a setup perspective to facilitate a little more wrist movement. Overall however, I believe everything will work out.

"I've been playing racing simulations on the simulator for over two hours every day, to the point where my right hand is starting to feel a little weary. We're exerting every effort possible. We'll be prepared to do a performance outside.