Swede Felix Rosenqvist sweeps street circuit doubleheader in Canada
TORONTO, ONTARIO (July 21, 2016) – Belardi Auto Racing has emerged from the first half of the 2016 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season with huge momentum, and the team is now working a streak of five straight podium finishes that includes three big wins. Swedish driver Felix Rosenqvist returned to the squad this past weekend in Toronto for the annual street circuit event, after missing the Road America and Iowa rounds, and proceeded to extend the team’s run by sweeping the Canadian doubleheader with two impressively-dominant performances. Stockdale, Ohio’s Zach Veach entered the event with a victory at Road America and a runner-up result at Iowa Speedway, and ended up posting a pair of top-10 finishes that were highlighted by a sixth in the Sunday race on the 1.755-mile, 11-turn temporary circuit at the city’s Exhibition Place.
“The team is hitting on all cylinders right now and we have great confidence in one another,” offered Brian Belardi, Team Owner. “We came into Toronto with momentum from Zach’s tremendous results at Road America and Iowa, and having Felix back gave us two bullets in the gun to go for the race wins. Felix is extremely good on temporary streets circuits and he showed his talents again. If it weren’t for the bent suspension that Zach battled on Saturday, we’d have had another podium as well.”
Rosenqvist won on the opening weekend of the series in St. Petersburg back in March, controlling the second race of the street circuit doubleheader, so it was not surprising that he was up to speed immediately in Toronto, topping the opening practice session on Friday. In qualifying, he set the pace with a 1:06.0106 to secure the pole position for both races and he controlled events by getting away early and saving his push-to-pass opportunities. He was never seriously challenged. In the first race on Saturday, he expertly managed a lap 12 restart after the caution flew for cars making contact in turn three, running away to a 7.343-second win. On Sunday, in front of the Verizon IndyCar Series team owners, he again powered away to an early lead and maintained a sizable gap over Andre Negrao to score his third victory of the year.
Veach qualified fourth in his #5 Belardi Auto Racing Dallara IL-15, and fought valiantly during the opening race as he worked to pressure Felix Serralles for second. During his attack on the Carlin driver, he made slight contact with the wall midway through the race, bending the rear suspension, which caused him to miss the apex in turn 10 on the final lap. Zach made contact with the wall, ending his run to the checkered flag. He was officially classified in ninth. In the second race, Zach slotted into sixth and held the position for the remainder of the 40-minute event. The American now sits sixth in the championship standings, 47 points out of the lead with five races remaining.
The next event on the schedule will take the team to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 29-31 for a doubleheader on the popular 2.258-mile, 13-turn circuit in Mansfield, OH.
BELARDI AUTO RACING – DRIVER RESULTS AND QUOTES
INDY LIGHTS – ROUND 12-13 – JULY 15-17, 2016
TORONTO INDY – TORONTO, ONTARIO
Zach Veach – #5
Qualifying: 4th (1:06.8355)
Race #1: Start – 4th / Finish – 9th
Race #2: Start – 6th / Finish – 6th
Driver Quote: “The Toronto weekend was a great weekend for our team and a tough weekend for me. Overall, I was very happy to see Felix get both race wins for us, as it showed our team’s strength, but a little bit of bad luck interfered with my two races. On Saturday, we had a strong showing running second and third until I made light contact with the exit wall of turn 6 at the halfway point. After hanging onto to it the rest of the way, the bent suspension put me into the wall with only one corner to go on the last lap. It was a tough day for points. On Sunday, we started sixth and finished sixth. We made a gamble with the car and it just didn’t pay off for us. At the end of the day, I’m extremely proud of my guys, and the team for all their effort. I have a feeling we’re going to be leading the charge at Mid-Ohio!”
Felix Rosenqvist – #14
Qualifying: 1st (1:06.0106)
Race #1: Start – 1st / Finish – 1st
Race #2: Start – 1st / Finish – 1st
Driver Quote: “It was an absolutely incredible weekend. The car has been fantastic, giving me the confidence you need on a difficult and narrow track like this, and it’s been the most enjoyable experience. I was able to control the pace, manage the tires, manage the gap, and it was one of those occasions when everything just came together. I honestly couldn’t dream of this, having been away for two weekends, but we did it. Huge thanks to the guys at Belardi Auto Racing for a perfect job. I couldn’t be happier!”
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 Long Beach Grand Prix, the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and the Toronto Indy and events at tracks such as the Milwaukee Mile, Pocono, Toronto and Road America.