Lundgaard defeats Malukas in close rookie fight


Note : The INDYCAR.com editorial team reflects on the 10 greatest moments of 2022 in the NTT INDYCAR and INDY NXT by Firestone series in this year-end series. One episode will be released on the site every day in a countdown from December 22 to December 31.

A large and intriguing rookie class has produced a fantastic championship chase this year in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Christian Lundgaard eventually got the better of Dale Coyne Racing’s David Malukas with HMD and others, but the fight was fierce until the end.

Lundgaard and Malukas each finished in second place, and they were only five points apart heading into the season-ending Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. There Lundgaard completed his third Firestone Fast Six qualification in the last four races and finished fifth, while Malukas finished 13th. Their gap was 18 points.

Malukas was the highest-ranked rookie in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge in 16th place, although the rookie of the year award went to seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, who took his first start in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES on the famous oval of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Johnson had won the NASCAR Brickyard 400 there four times.

Lundgaard earned a career-best second place finish in the second road course race of the year, the Gallagher Grand Prix. Malukas finished second in the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline at the World Wide Technology Raceway oval.

Both drivers also turned 21 this year.

Callum Ilott helped Juncos Hollinger Racing have a good season, qualifying on the front row at Laguna Seca. Defending INDY NXT by Firestone Champion Kyle Kirkwood drove AJ Foyt Racing’s famed #14 car, leading five laps in the XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway and finishing in 10th place in the the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Tatiana Calderon was the other rookie driver of the season, making seven starts for AJ Foyt Racing, with a 15th place finish in the IMS GMR Grand Prix.

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