Lexington, OH (July 29, 2018) – Wrapping up the 3-race schedule in July, is the beautiful Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course deep in the heart of Ohio. The weekend saw another double header race weekend for Belardi Auto Racing and its drivers, Santiago Urrutia and Aaron Telitz.
Kicking off the weekend was a 40-minute practice session in the morning. Both drivers turned 17 laps in the morning practice to really help them get a feel for their cars and the competition. Having the practice session in the morning was beneficial for both qualifying sessions because it gave the team notes for those particular conditions they could look back on later in the weekend.
After turning a combined total of 34 laps, Santi, Aaron and their engineers Tim Neff and Kent Boyer went back and worked on a setup plan they felt would give them the best shot at a good qualifying time.
As the afternoon came, it was time to qualify and see what kind of speed the guys could pull out of their Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires machines. The 25-minute session flew by fast, so it was paramount to make the most out of every lap around the track. Giving all they had, Aaron ended up qualifying 4th with Santiago wound up 5th.
Heading into Saturday, everyone on the Belardi team knew they had the drivers and equipment to make for a great day and qualifying No. 2 justified that thinking. The teams hard work on Friday paid major dividends in Qualifying, when Aaron Telitz took the 2nd starting position only .01 off of pole and Santiago only 3 tenths off pole putting him in the 5th starting position.
Given the newfound confidence the entire team couldn’t wait to get race No. 1 underway and see if that speed would translate over to the race.
As race 1 began, it was an immediate battle for 5th place starter Santiago Urrutia, having to fend off a challenge from Andretti Autosport’s Dalton Kellett. Ultimately able to hold him off and maintain his 5th place position, he began to set his sights on the front of the field. On lap 4 a battle began to break out between teammates Aaron Telitz and Santiago Urrutia. The battle produced great side by side action, with Santiago getting past Aaron on lap 6.
As Santiago and Aaron began to work towards the front of the field and catch 1st place O’Ward, a battle once again began to take place between Aaron and Santi for 4th place. As the battle began to fall off, Aaron took a quick spin on lap 16 but was able to get the car pointed the right direction and was able to continue. Unfortunately, due to the spin, the tires on the No. 9 were worn down and on lap 18 Aaron found himself stuck in the sand trap and in need of a tow out. This worked in Santiago’s favor as he was able to come in, and with the quick work from his No. 5 crew, was able to get new tires and get right back out on track.
On the restart, Santiago had fresh tires and his goal was to make quick work of the drivers in front of him and get as far ahead as possible. Battling with 3rd place Norman, Santiago was doing all he could to get around him, when they made contact sending Santi spinning through the grass.
At the end of the race, Santiago Urrutia wound up 6th with Aaron Telitz 7th. A tough day, but no one on the team got down, instead it made them even hungrier for a better result on Sunday.
With race No. 2 on Sunday, the team was excited to see what Telitz could do from 2nd and Santiago, even though he was starting mid-pack everyone knew he would be aggressive and make up spots.
As the race go underway, going through the 1st turn, Aaron knew it would be in his best interest to just fall in line and attempt to draft Pato going into the next turn. Santiago on the other hand immediately passed 4th place Franzoni and was right on the gearbox of 3rd place Herta before they had even completed a lap.
On lap 2, Pato had begun to pull away, while Aaron had to contend with Colton Herta for the 2nd place spot and right behind was Aaron’s teammate Santiago Urrutia. As the battle for 2nd began Santi closed right up behind Aaron and Colton. Herta got past Aaron for 2nd and Santiago followed suit and got by for 3rd place hunting down Herta.
As the race carried on, O’Ward began to pull away from the rest of the field which left Santiago Urrutia driving as fast as he could to catch up with Herta in 2nd. Each lap that passed by saw Urrutia getting closer and closer to Herta, slowly chipping away at the distance between them.
The laps began to click by, and everyone found their rhythm trying to run their quickest laps possible to try and catch 1st place. Telitz found himself battling with Franzoni for 4th place, when going through the esses, Franzoni got into the grass and tagged Aaron’s left rear sending him spinning in front of the other cars and causing a full course yellow. No damage occurred but it ultimately ruined the momentum and day for Aaron Telitz.
On the ensuing restart, Santi began to pressure Herta immensely. As Franzoni had to serve a drive through penalty for contact with Telitz, it left Santi to deal with Norman for 3rd place. Norman began to chip away at the gap to Santi and ultimately caught him sending Urrutia to 4th place.
When the checkered flag flew Santiago Urrutia crossed the finish line 4th with teammate Aaron Telitz in 7th position.
“A tougher weekend than we would have liked her at Mid-Ohio for the Belardi Auto Racing team. We just had a difficult time finding consistent speed. At times we were quick, even challenging for pole in race 2, so we started on the outside of the front row. I had a decent start and fell into 2nd place, but couldn’t quite keep up with Pato on the 1st lap and slowly fell into the clutches of Colton and Santi, and then just fell into my rhythm. My car wasn’t working as well as I would have liked and Victor had a run on me down the back straight and made a move on the outside and I think he went a little bit wide and ran off the track. When he came back on he tagged my left rear corner and sent me into a spin which sent me to the back of the pack. After the restart we just didn’t have the pace to move up through the field. Tough weekend, but we move on as a team, we win and lose as a team so we will be back up their fighting for wins.” – Aaron Telitz
“Overall not the weekend I wanted to have and needed to have, but my guys and the entire Belardi Auto Racing team never gave up and never quit. We worked day in and day out to put the best car possible on track and unfortunately just were not able to show the strength I know we have. I know how good this team is and I have all the confidence in them and my abilities and I can’t wait to get to Gateway and show what we are capable of.” – Santiago Urrutia
Next up for the Belardi Auto Racing team is the oval at Gateway Motorsports Park, a place where the team was able to capture the win at last year. The entire team is excited to get back on an oval and contend for another victory!
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, Road America, Watkins Glen and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.