Rookies impress in Toronto qualifying

Gavin Baker / Lumen

Rookies impress in Toronto qualifying


Rookies impress in Toronto qualifying


With his run to fifth on the grid for Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto, David Malukas earned his career-best starting position. Callum Ilott matched his best after writing his name on seventh place and hometown boy Devlin DeFrancesco also thrived as he set a new standard for himself by claiming 12th on the grid.

For Malukas and the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports Honda, it was the Illinois product’s second appearance in the Firestone Fast Six this year, having started sixth at Detroit and come close with an eighth-place start at the last race in Mid-Ohio. Runner-up in last year’s Indy Lights championship, Malukas is showing he has the speed to play with the established stars of the NTT IndyCar Series.

“The team did such an incredible job with all the decisions that we did. The car wasn’t perfect, but I tried my best and I’m more exhausted than any race,” he said. “You’ve got to push it all the way to the edge so I pushed it. I thought I was gonna hit the wall, especially right here in this last corner. It’s a spicy one, but overall, yeah, it was it was very good.”

Ilott and the Juncos Hollinger Racing team continue to punch well above their weight, and after running to seventh in qualifying for the Indianapolis Grand Prix, the Briton matched it by splitting Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin and Arrow McLaren SP’s Felix Rosenqvist with the No. 77 Chevy.

“I think we’re in a good position,” said Ilott, who was quick on Firestone’s primary tires as well. “I’d say the only thing that worries me is about the tire [degradation]. So we’ll see, but with the tire when the track rubbers up, it will be better.”

If it weren’t for a blocking penalty that relegated DeFrancesco to last in the Fast 12, the Andretti Steinbrenner driver feels like he could have moved higher on the starting grid with the No. 29 Honda.

“That was with a lot of strong guys,” the Canadian said. “So to transfer through I think was strong. It’s great to get my best qualifying result [here] and [I’m] looking forward to going out tomorrow and getting into the top 10 [and] who knows, maybe more.”

Although it wasn’t his top performance this season, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Christian Lundgaard did come close. The Dane was an impressive eighth in time trials for the Indy GP and earned 10th for Toronto — top RLL driver — with the No. 30 Honda.