Team set to ride Indianapolis momentum to site of 2016 Mazda Road to Indy victory
BROWNSBURG, IN (June 21, 2017) – The Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires will hit the midway point of its season this weekend at the iconic four-mile Road America facility, and Belardi Auto Racing will be taking to the track on Friday with the goal of maintaining the momentum that they banked at the Freedom 100. Team pilot Aaron Telitz mounted a last-race challenge for the win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, turning around what had been a rough stretch for the team, eventually finishing second. Santiago Urrutia was also on the move, and left IMS with a strong fifth place finish. The confidence developed at Indy will be fueled further when the team heads to Elkhart Lake, as Belardi Auto Racing was victorious with Zach Veach at the track last year. Urrutia was also a winner at Road America a year ago, and he continues his close relationship with his engineer Tim Neff, which points to a strong baseline of knowledge for this weekend’s battle. The drivers will run a doubleheader at Road America, racing on both Saturday and Sunday.
“This year, we’ve been working hard to build a cohesive team and I’m extremely pleased with our program,” offered Belardi Auto Racing owner Brian Belardi. “I’m really looking forward to this race, as it’s in my home state, and all our drivers have a real shot at winning. We were able to hit victory lane last year, and I know the whole team wants to make a repeat visit this weekend.”
Telitz is coming off his impressive second place finish at the Freedom 100, and is entering his home race at Road America. Aaron is a Wisconsin native and had enjoyed much success at the track, running in several different series from karts to Pro Mazda. Last year, Telitz turned the tide on his Pro Mazda championship aspirations when he swept the top step of the podium in both races of the doubleheader. The 26-year-old resident is focused on doing exactly that again this year in Indy Lights. The Mazda scholarship driver currently sit fourth in overall points and is looking to improve on that position this weekend.
Urrutia, one of last year’s Road America Indy Lights winners, is heading into this race with confidence and motivation after his strong finish at the Freedom 100. Santi has yet to win in 2017, but is most definitely in the points hunt, now stationed in seventh. The Uruguayan sophomore won four races in 2016 and is picked by a majority of the sport’s insiders as the next Indy Lights driver who will break through and win this season.
To complete the Belardi Auto Racing driving trio, Shelby Blackstock is looking forward to improving on his finish of fifth place from last year at Road America. The MRTI veteran has a lot of experience at the challenging facility thanks to his many laps running in the Skip Barber series, and he is supremely motivated to score his first podium of the year.
The weekend schedule for this year’s Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tire doubleheader at Road America will begin with a 45-minute practice session on Friday, June 23 at 10:00 am ET ahead of qualifying for Race #1 at 3:30 pm ET. On Saturday, June 24, the Belardi drivers will qualify for the second race of the weekend at 8:50 am ET. The opening wheel-to-wheel battle will be run at 1:00 pm ET. The second race of the doubleheader will be run ahead of the Verizon IndyCar Series Kohler Grand Prix on Sunday, June 25, taking the green flag at 9:45 am ET. NBCSN’s coverage of the Indy Lights races will begin at 11:30 am ET and will lead directly into the IndyCar broadcast. The race will be broadcast live on IndyCarRadio and will available on the Road to Indy TV app and the IndyCar.com Race Control page.
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: “Road America is a track that I really like, and I missed pole position last year by less than a tenth and then won a race. My expectations are very high and I want to win both races so that I can take big points for the championship. We tested three weeks ago and things went very well, and the team worked together very well to make sure that we’ll have a great car for the weekend. As for myself, I expect a great deal out of myself and winning is what I want out of Road America.
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: “Finally, my home race weekend is here! I look forward to the Road America race weekend more than any other. It’s the track I first drove a car at. I’m extremely excited to get my ‘Soul Red’ Belardi Auto Racing car back in victory lane! The home fans really spur me on. I’ll be using all of my home track advantage!”
SHELBY BLACKSTOCK – #51
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Residence: Charlotte, NC
Sponsors: Starstruck, Sparco, AMPED Apparel/Optics, Arai Helmets
Driver Input: “After an interesting test, I am really looking forward to getting back to Road America. During the test, I had a very fast and consistent car, but random failures halted our day early. Road America is one of my favorite tracks in the US with its wide range of corners, long straits, and its ruggedness of the old American-style race track. It’s also the place where I did my Skip Barber Racing School seven years ago.”
Series: Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires
Event: Round 8/9 – Road America
Date: June 22-25, 2017
WEEKEND SCHEDULE (all times Eastern Time Zone):
Friday, June 23
- Practice 1: 10:00 am – 10:45 am
- Qualifying: 3:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Saturday, June 24
- Qualifying 2: 8:50 am – 9:30 am
- Race 1: 1:00 pm – 1:55pm
Sunday, June 25
- Race 2: 9:45 am – 10:45 am
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-RA-Telitz.jpg (1500 x 1000 pixel web-ready JPEG)
Possible Caption: Wisconsin driver Aaron Telitz will look to repeat Belardi Auto Racing’s 2016 success at Road America when he takes to the venue he calls his ‘hometrack’ (Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography)