After a pair of podium results at the opening round of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires event on the Streets of St. Petersburg, BN Racing added their third podium of the year at the famed Circuit of the Americas (COTA). With Toby Sowery climbing the podium steps in Florida, it was David Malukas’ turn in Texas as he drove from the tail of the field on Sunday to a head-turning third place effort.
“It was another good weekend for us,” explained BN Racing’s Bryn Nuttall. “We have been achieving a lot of our goals this year earlier than expected which provides a very promising future. To be able to compete like we have with the top teams and drivers in the series is a true testament of the hard work our crew puts in, the talent of our drivers and ultimately, the speed of our cars.”
Friday morning was the home of the one and only practice session for the Indy Lights competitors as BN Racing quickly went to the top of the charts. With Sowery in P2 and Malukas ending the session P3 due to not being able to complete the final minutes of the session, hope and anticipation was in the air as qualifying took place that afternoon.
Nuttall continued, “We had a minor suspension failure on David’s car late in the session and did not get the full run time that we were looking for to get the most out of our package. On used tires we were pretty quick and we are cautiously confident heading into the weekend.”
Friday afternoon saw Toby Sowery continue with the upper hand in the team qualifying results turning the fourth fastest lap of the session and lining up on the outside of row two for Saturday’s first wheel-to-wheel action on the weekend. Malukas followed closely in the fifth position, as the duo would look for a chance at the podium in less than twenty-four hours.
Back to track Saturday morning, Sowery continued his qualifying performances with a solid fifth place effort for race two, while Malukas had his time time removed from the charts after a post session technical issue, the first problem for the 17-year-old in a day that he soon will forget.
With both BN Racing cars battling in the top-five at the start of race one, Malukas was forced to retire after mid-race contact damaged the right front suspension on his #79 HMD Trucking backed entry. Sowery pushed hard early on and ran second for most of the race, but after an epic battle with Robert Meginnis, which many described as the best ever Indy Lights race, a rear camber shim issue late in the race saw him fall back to eventually finish in the fifth position.
Race two on Sunday morning just before the start of the NTT IndyCar Series event went much better for the Illinois based team. Rebounding from Saturday, Malukas had a storming drive from tenth on the grid as he marched his way forward to claim his first podium result of the season. Finishing just behind a pair of Andretti Autosport drivers, BN Racing continued to prove that they can run with the best and eventually win races in top rung of the Road to Indy. Sowery again ran in the top-three for the majority of the race, however a potential podium again slipped from his grasp after a safety car period late in the race coupled with a missed shift saw him finish an eventual sixth.
With all three rungs of the Road to Indy ladder set for their next events May 9-11 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, BN Racing will enter a pair of Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Series drivers along with Sowery and Malukas in Indy Lights. The Chicago, Illinois based outfit has the opportunity to run up to two Indy Pro 2000 entries should the opportunity present itself and it is a right match for the overall program.
For more information on BN Racing, please contact Bryn Nuttall at Bryn@BNRacing.co.uk or visit them online via their social media pages.
Photos: Road to Indy Media