By Steve Wittich
Before starting a chaotic Indy Lights qualifying session at a wet Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, David Malukas had a 0.1% chance of claiming the title.
After grabbing his seventh pole of the season and seeing Kyle Kirkwood in the tire barriers, the HMD Motorsports veteran’s chances might now be 1%.
Malukas needs to win the race, lead the most laps and have Kirkwood finish in last to take home the $1,289,425 scholarship.
Kirkwood, who lost his quickest lap after causing a red flag, recovered and will start on the inside of row three.
Starting beside Malukas is his teammate Linus Lundqvist, with Benjamin Pedersen and Devlin DeFrancesco starting on the second row.
The season’s final Indy Lights qualifying session and of the Andersen Promotions era got the green flag on time at 8:45 am.
That was after Tony Cotman, the Indy Lights race director, reported after an exploratory ride in the pace car that the track was slippery but acceptable for qualifying.
The Indy Lights drivers didn’t make it a single lap before the red flag came out for an incident on the driver’s right between Turn 4 and Turn 5. The distinctive orange and black No. 24 Global Racing Group w/HMD with Benjamin Pedersen behind the got stuck in the wet grass after looping it while getting on the gas. The AMR INDYCAR Safety Team re-fired his turbocharged engine
No drivers could complete a lap before qualifying stopped, and when the green flag came back out, there were still 29-minutes on the clock.
This time, the entire field made it three more corners before the red flag came out. This time, it was the No. 7 Carlin machine of Christian Bogle that spun in Turn 7. The red flag came out when it appeared the rookie could not keep going. But, as soon as the starter unfurled the red flag, Bogle continued.
At this point, the race director checked with the drivers, and their feedback was that qualifying should continue.
The green flag came back out with 16-minutes left in the session.
Lundqvist was the first driver to turn a lap at speed after the drivers had turned one lap at ‘speed.’
After turning the fourth quickest lap of the session, Saturday’s race winner and presumptive champion, Kyle Kirkwood, brought out the third red, nosing into the tires in The Carousel.
Race control allowed the drivers to complete the hot lap they were on before the red flag came out. The AMR INDYCAR Safety Team pulled him from the tires, and he was able to drive back to the pit road with the Andretti Autosport crew, quickly replacing the damaged front wing.
When the green flag returned with five minutes remaining, the top five were Lundqvist, Malukas, DeFrancesco, Pedersen, and Megennis.
With two minutes remaining, Malukas went to the provisional at the same time that rookie Manuel Sulaiman spun in Turn 5
VP Racing Fuels Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Presented by Cooper Tires Qualifying Session #2
|1||79||David Malukas||HMD Motorsports||1:46.7873||——|
|2||26||Linus Lundqvist||Global Racing Group w/HMD Motorsports||1:46.9953||0.2080|
|3||24||Benjamin Pedersen||Global Racing Group w/HMD Motorsports||1:49.5369||2.7496|
|4||17||Devlin DeFrancesco||Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport||1:50.6520||3.8647|
|5||28||Kyle Kirkwood||Andretti Autosport||1:51.3490||4.5617|
|6||27||Robert Megennis||Andretti Autosport||1:53.2443||6.4570|
|7||51||Rasmus Lindh||Juncos Hollinger Racing||1:55.0460||8.2587|
|8||2||Sting Ray Robb||Juncos Hollinger Racing||1:55.6824||8.8951|
|9||68||Danial Frost||Andretti Autosport||1:56.1405||9.3532|
|10||59||Manuel Sulaiman||HMD Motorsports||1:59.3821||12.5948|
|11||11||Antonio Serravalle||Pserra Racing||2:25.5903||38.8030|
The race will roll off at noon.