2023 INDYCAR Season Preview: Dale Coyne Racing

By: Spencer Neff
February 20, 2023

The 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season would provide a number of changes for Dale Coyne Racing. While the Illinois-based team remained at two cars and Rick Ware Racing remained with the No. 51, a new team would join the fold as well.

Continuing a partnership formed during Indy Lights (now INDY NXT By Firestone), HMD Motorsport would partner with DCR for the No. 18 entry. Rookie David Malukas joined as the driver. Alongside Malukas, Takuma Sato would be added to drive the No. 51.

Sato began the new partnership with a charge from 22nd to 10th in the opening round on the street course in St. Petersburg, Florida. He qualified third and led three laps at Texas on March 20 but finished 20th.

Malukas earned DCR’s first podium finish on an oval in over five years during the August 20 Bommarito Automotive Group 500 (James Black/INDYCAR)

May and June would proved the hard-charging Tokyo native with some of his best results.

During this run, he finished seventh at the GMR Grand Prix, qualified 10th at the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge and started second a week later at Belle Isle. At WorldWide Technology Raceway, the 2019 race winner led 55 laps and finished a season-best fifth.

While there had been some mutual interest reported for Sato coming back to DCR for the oval portion of the schedule, it did not materialize.

Sting Ray Robb during the Open Test at The Thermal Club on February 3 (James Black/INDYCAR)

David Malukas

Making the jump from Lights to INDYCAR, Chicago native Malukas found himself at the wheel of the No. 18 with backing from his family-owned HMD Motorsport. Malukas climbed from 19th to 11th and led three laps in his first oval action at Texas Motor Speedway.

At the 106th Indianapolis 500 presented By Gainbridge, he persevered through a Carb Day practice crash and finished 16th, best among the seven rookies participating.

Malukas’s late-race charge thrilled fans at WWT Raceway Gateway (Sean Birkle/INDYCAR)

The next week, he made the first of four appearances in the Fast Six (final round) of qualifying, doing so in his first race at Belle Isle.

In July, Malukas qualified a season-best fifth at Toronto and earned a ninth-place finish (his best to date) at the second Iowa Speedway race.

The signature moment of Malukas’ season would come in August at Worldwide Technology Raceway. During the Gateway event, the No. 18 utilized a late pit stop to charge through the field and score a second-place finish. Malukas would end the night just .4708 of a second back of race winner Josef Newgarden.

Sting Ray Robb

Robb preparing for on-track time at Thermal Club (Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

Signed to the No. 51, 2022 Indy Lights runner-up Sting Ray Robb makes his INDYCAR debut in 2023.

In finishing second to Linus Lundqvist, Robb earned three pole positions, converting the last one into his first series victory. That victory would occur at the penultimate race in WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

The Payette, Idaho native participated in his first Open Test earlier this month at the Thermal Club.

Header Image: Sato and Malukas at the Hyvee Salute to Famers 300 on July 24 at Iowa Speedway (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)


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