David Malukas Happy to Finally Return to NTT IndyCar Series Grid After Injury

west allis, wi open test for the ntt indycar series at the milwuakee mile at the wisconsin state fair park photo by chris jones ims photo
Malukas Happy to Finally Return to IndyCar GridPenske Entertainment/Chris Jones
  • IndyCar driver David Malukas was injured in a mountain biking accident in February.

  • His injuries left him unable to fulfill his end of his contract with Arrow McLaren, which released him.

  • Malukas is back a ready to go... with Meyer Shank Racing.

Forget the calendar on the wall or even the NTT IndyCar Series schedule.

This week is opening week of the 2024 season for driver David Malukas.


Malukas has had a four months stretch that he'd just as soon forget. This year started with such promise for the 22-year-old IndyCar driver who was all set to begin a new chapter of his career with Arrow McLaren after spending his first two years in the series with team owner Dale Coyne.


The excitement of a new chapter took on a different emotion entirely after Malukas was injured in a mountain biking accident in February that called for surgery on Feb. 13 to repair torn ligaments and a dislocated left wrist.

The surgery was supposed to keep Malukas sidelined about six weeks—putting his season debut tentatively for the season's second points race of the season at Long Beach on April 21. However, the recovery time blew past the six-week mark, and impatient Arrow McLaren released Malukas from his contract on April 29 after three points-paying races and the exhibition race at Thermal Club in California.

west allis, wi open test for the ntt indycar series at the milwuakee mile at the wisconsin state fair park photo by chris jones ims photo
David Malukas participates in an IndyCar test session at Milwaukee ahead of his return to regular-season action.Penske Entertainment/Chris Jones

Malukas' season had one more twist when he was rescued with yet another chance when Meyer Shank Racing scooped him up on June 7,

Finally, just over four months after his accident, Malukas is all set to debut with MSR this Sunday in the NTT IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Monterey at Laguna Seca. With MSR, Malukas will pilot the No. 66 Honda that had been driven by Tom Blomqvist and more recently Helio Castroneves this season.

"Definitely been a roller coaster, that's for sure," Malukas said on Monday. "Man, it started with obviously a big high, getting the whole Arrow McLaren (deal) signed. Then it went to a pretty big low after everything that's happened with the injury.

"I mean, those few months afterwards... I would say the stress went away once the contract got terminated because there wasn't such a heavy push on making a specific timeline. At the same time, I was working on the hand, doing everything I could just in case something were to happen. The MSR deal came around. I gave a call to the doctors. Yeah, we think you'll be ready. Fast forward to now, we're here."

Malukas calls the 2024 season a "character-building" season, and the call he got from Mike Shank after everything that has happened so far couldn't have come at a better time.

"He shows that he trusts me," Malukas said. "He knows that I can do what I can in the car. From my side, it just feels very good that everybody on the team trusts me in that car and knows I can perform well in it. It's the perfect environment for the way things are right now and for the future.

"I think it will help me reach my better potential of what I can be. The way things formed out, I'm still 22, I'm still young, still have a lot to learn. Being in this environment is giving me that opportunity."

Malukas says his injured hand and wrist passed the biggest test to date on June 11 at a full-field test at the Milwaukee Mile.

"The Milwaukee test, I wasn't really too worried going into it," Malukas said. "Just being an oval, not that much strain on the left wrist or hand. Not much move on the steering wheel. It is also more left-handers. Laguna is going to be a question mark with the repavement being heavier on the wheel."

Any discomfort with being on a road course this week still beats the alternative.

"I think for the time being, kind of just taking pressure off, like you said, going back into it," he said. "Coming from an injury—I never had an injury this bad before, let alone going back into a car—I don't really know what to expect.

"Talking to people around me that have dealt with those things, especially with (Tony Kanaan), take your time going into it, things are going to be very different, just take everything slow.

"We're going to see how it goes. I think the performance is going to be there, especially after how well the Milwaukee test went. Then again, you don't know. It's a road course. We'll take our time, see how it's going to be, a little bit of a survival race. After that, focusing on more performance."

No, Malukas isn't yet 100% healthy, but he's getting there.

"It will definitely get back to 100%," he said. "I think it's like anything in life, though, you can quickly get back to that 80, 90% range. That last little bit you have to slowly pick at. That's going to take a lot longer.

"We're not really worried too much about that. We were more worried about getting it to the 80% because that's enough to get back into IndyCar and perform. The last 20%, it will come with time."