USAC star Chad Boat expands driver trio to quartet for high-speed oval contest
BROWNSBURG, IN (July 6, 2017) – As announced last week, the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires driver line-up at Belardi Auto Racing will expand to four for this weekend’s 100-lap race at Iowa Speedway in Newton, IA. The team’s season-long trio of Aaron Telitz, Shelby Blackstock and Santi Urrutia will be joined by full-time USAC Midget driver Chad Boat for the Saturday-Sunday show, which will feature with the Indy Lights Mazda Iowa 100 Presented by Cooper Tires on Sunday at 2:00 pm Central.
“We’re excited to have Chad joining us this weekend, and for Gateway as well, and the results from our test last week were very positive,” offered Brian Belardi, Team Owner. “Our guys had a really strong run last year at Iowa with Zach (Veach) and our focus is to pick up where we left off and take the win.”
Iowa Speedway is a unique track for the Indy Lights series, and will be the second of three oval races for the drivers at the top rung of the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires. The track measures out at 0.894 miles and the turns are banked between 12º-14º. The frontstretch holds significant banking between turns four and one at 10º, while the backstraight flattens out to just 4º, which will present a significant challenge for the drivers. The Mazda-powered Dallara IL-15s in the Indy Lights series are expected to reach top speeds of over 170 mph during qualifying.
The team tested on the challenging and physically demanding oval last week, hitting the track on Tuesday evening and Wednesday afternoon to deal with wet weather. The team’s progress at the test was extremely positive and the drivers are primed and ready to battle for the win in the 10th event of the 16-race schedule.
Miguelete, Uruguay’s Santiago Urrutia is coming off strong second place result at Road America, although the overall success of that event was tempered by a tire failure on the final lap while the Uruguayan was running in sixth. Santi limped home to an 11th place finish, which positions him in eighth in the championship standings. The 20-year-old has back-to-back fifth place finishes at Iowa, in the Pro Mazda Championship in 2015 and during his freshman season in Indy Lights last year. He was also on the move in the Freedom 100, and is ready to score his first win of the 2017 season.
Minneapolis, MN’s Aaron Telitz will head into the Iowa round having finished second in the Freedom 100 in May. Aaron won the Pro Mazda Championship last year, but the series did not run at Iowa Speedway, so he does not come into the event with past wheel-to-wheel experience. That said, the 25-year-old was very pleased with the results of the test and he is focused on continuing the speed he displayed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Charlotte, NC’s Shelby Blackstock currently sits ninth in the championship standings and is coming off an extremely strong outing at Road America. Shelby raced hard and was rewarded with a pair of top-eight finishes highlighted by a sixth in Race #2 that came after some thrilling wheel-to-wheel action. Blackstock has enjoyed a consistent year with seven top-10 finishes in the nine races, and with a top career Indy Lights oval result of fourth in the 2016 Freedom 100, he’ll be aiming for the podium this weekend.
Belardi Auto Racing welcomes Cornelius, NC’s Chad Boat to the team this weekend. The 25-year-old is a full-time USAC Midget driver, who will be adding a pair of Indy Lights races to his already-stacked 31-race schedule. He currently sits eighth on the National Midget Series standings. Boat competed in a total of 14 events on the 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series as well, finished 22nd at Iowa Speedway that year. Boat’s performance at last week’s test was impressive, and he is excited about this new opportunity.
The weekend schedule for this year’s Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tire Mazda 100 at Iowa Speedway will begin with a 30-minute practice session on Saturday, July 8 at 1:15 pm CT. Belardi’s drivers will be back on-track later in the day, getting another 30-minute session at 5:30 pm CT. Single-car, two-lap qualifying is set for Sunday morning at 10:15 and the race will be run at 2:00 pm ahead of the Verizon IndyCar Series Iowa Corn 300. The race will be broadcast live on the Road to Indy TV app, IndyLights.com and the IndyCar.com Race Control page with audio provided by IndyCar Radio.
BELARDI AUTO RACING – DRIVER INFORMATION
SANTIAGO URRUITA – #5
Hometown: Montevideo, Uruguay
Residence: Miguelete, Uruguay
Sponsors: ARROW Electronics, BSE, ANCAP, Antel, Ministerio de Turismo, AgroLavalle, SuperMatch, Fadisol, SINTEPLAS, Secretaría Nacional de Deporte, BMW MotorHaus
Driver Input: “I think Iowa will be very important for us, because we need to make up ground in the championship. It will be important to win and it would be very positive for the team and me. We continue to work together to get top results and I think Iowa is going to be a good place for us. Right now, every race is going to be a final. If I want to win the championship, I need to win races. That is my goal for the weekend…to win. I’m very positive on my team.”
AARON TELITZ – #9
Hometown: Birchwood, WI
Residence: Minneapolis, MN
Sponsors: Mazda, Rice Lake Weighing Systems, Rising Star Racing, Morrie’s Chippewa Valley Mazda, Fred Thomas Resort, Cooper Tires, Bell Helmets, Sparco, Team USA Scholarship
Driver Input: “I’m psyched to get onto my first short oval in an Indy Lights car! Our test at Iowa was very productive and I feel we have a great shot at battling for a win this weekend. It’ll be all about whoever’s car lasts all race and who can make passes at the end, as we saw last year!”
SHELBY BLACKSTOCK – #51
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Residence: Charlotte, NC
Sponsors: Starstruck, Sparco, AMPED Apparel/Optics, Arai Helmets
Driver Input: “The team just had a pretty successful Iowa test about a week ago, so we are looking forward to the race this weekend. Cars were fast and consistent, so I hope we can continue to improve them as the weekend progresses.”
CHAD BOAT – #84
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Residence: Cornelius, NC
Sponsors: Pristine Auction, K&C Drywall
Driver Input: “I’m looking forward to this weekend and the opportunity that it presents. I feel I have a good idea what to expect from the car after the test last week and I feel that we will be able to come out and have a successful debut. I would like Pristine Auction and everyone that has made this possible.”
Series: Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires
Event: Round 10 – Iowa Speedway
Date: July 8-9, 2017
WEEKEND SCHEDULE (all times Central Time Zone):
Saturday, July 8
- Practice: 1:15 pm – 1:45 pm
- Practice: 5:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Saturday, July 9
- Qualifying: 10:15 am – 11:00 am
- Race: 2:00 pm – 2:55 pm
Direct Contact: Brian Belardi
About Belardi Auto Racing: Belardi Auto Racing is an organization comprised of experienced individuals in the racing industry with an aggressive growth strategy and a strong commitment to finishing up front. No stranger to winning, team members having been achieving success in both the amateur and pro ranks for over a decade, winning numerous junior formula car races and championships. Based in Brownsburg, IN, Belardi Auto Racing won the 2014 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship and has scored multiple races wins in both Indy Lights and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, including the Freedom 100 at Indianapolis and prestigious races like the Grand Prix of Long Beach, the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and the Toronto Indy, and events at tracks such as the Milwaukee Mile, Pocono, Road America, Watkins Glen and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Photo: Belardi-Lights-Iowa-SU-SB.jpg (1500 x 1000 pixel web-ready JPEG)
Possible Caption: Belardi Auto Racing’s Santiago Urrutia (left) and Shelby Blackstock (right), along with Aaron Telitz, will be joined by new teammate Chad Boat for this weekend’s Indy Lights race at Iowa Speedway (Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography)