Stellar drive from 11th to second marks Uruguayan’s best career oval finish
NEWTON, IOWA (July 9, 2017) – With top speeds of over 170 mph and the highest g-loads of the year, the fast 7/8-mile Iowa Speedway presented a major challenge to Belardi Auto Racing’s trio of drivers in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires series on Sunday. The star of the show in the Mazda Iowa 100 was Santi Urrutia, who guided his Arrow Electronics / BSE #5 Dallara IL-15 from 11th on the starting grid to a stunning second by the checkered flag, using both the low groove and high line to execute some thrilling overtakes. Aaron Telitz started well and was involved in some hard wheel-to-wheel racing to finish a solid ninth, while Shelby Blackstock was 13th in the final tally. The team was prepped to welcome a fourth driver for the Iowa event, but USAC star Chad Boat failed to clear an IndyCar Medical evaluation following a hard tumble in a Midget race in Lincoln, Illinois and was forced to watch from the sidelines. Boat will re-unite with the team in late August at Gateway Motorsports Park.
“The team put their heads down all weekend and they focused on providing the best balance possible in the weekend’s hot and slick conditions,” offered Brian Belardi, Team Owner. “Santi’s performance in the race was incredible. He worked the low side and the high side and made some truly impressive passes. He’s got a lot of passion and knows how to go forward. I’m proud of the drive he put in today. Aaron and Shelby never lost their focus either, and I know that they’re both fired up and ready to attack in Toronto this coming weekend.”
After Sunday morning qualifying presented the drivers with higher than expected temperatures and difficult conditions, the field was set for the early afternoon running of the Mazda Iowa 100 with Belardi Auto Racing’s drivers gridded 11th, 12th and 13th. When the 100-lap race went green, Telitz and Urrutia were immediately on the move, grabbing positions early on. Santi continued to advance during the first quarter of the race, using the low groove until a yellow was thrown when Carlin’s Garth Rickards spun on the exit of Turn 2.
On the ensuing restart, Urrutia began to work the high-side as well, and passed Kyle Kaiser and then Colton Herta to begin a thrilling tussle with Andretti Autosport’s Dalton Kellett. Santi eventually worked the high groove to complete the pass following a few laps of side-by-side racing, and was rewarded with a crucial second place finish. The result, combined with Kaiser’s fifth place finish, advanced Urrutia to fifth in the standings, just 51 points out of the lead with seven races still on the schedule.
Telitz fought hard early in the race, and advanced past both Neil Alberico and Nico Dapero, and was then able to out-gun Juan Piedrahita to finish ninth, leaving Iowa sitting sixth in the points. Aaron is just four points behind Santi and 55 out of the lead. There is a lot of racing still to come and both Telitz and Urrutia remain firmly in the fight for the title.
Blackstock had a rougher time of it on Sunday, finishing in the 13th position. He currently completes the top-10 in points.
The Belardi Auto Racing team will have no rest this week, heading straight north of the border to Canada for the next Indy Lights vent on the schedule. The seventh event of the year will take place on the streets of Toronto, Ontario, and the team is excited to get back to the track where they swept the doubleheader weekend in 2016 with Felix Rosenqvist. The action gets underway on Friday, July 14.
All the on-track action from Toronto will be streamed live on the Mazda Road to Indy app or through the MRTI.TV website (www.roadtoindy.tv), as will the entire Indy Lights season. You can also follow along on www.indylights.com and www.indycar.com. Be sure to follow Belardi Auto Racing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay updated on all the action.
BELARDI AUTO RACING – DRIVER RESULTS AND QUOTES
INDY LIGHTS – ROUND 10 – JULY 8-9, 2017
IOWA SPEEDWAY – NEWTON, IA
SANTIAGO URRUTIA – #5
Qualifying: 11th – 161.926 mph
Race: Start – 11th / Finish – 2nd
Driver Quote: “I’m very happy to have been able to finish second after starting back in 11th. We’ve struggled a little in qualifying, which has made it tough, but we were able to figure out a good set-up for the race. I started in the low groove, but the high groove was the best for me, and that’s where I made up my time. I always want to win, but this result is good for the championship and I’m now looking forward to getting to Toronto. Belardi was fast there last year and I know we can win and close the points gap even more. I want to thank my sponsors and my crew for working so hard all weekend.”
AARON TELITZ – #9
Qualifying: 12th – 161.895 mph
Race: Start – 12th / Finish – 9th
Driver Quote: “It was fun making some moves at the start, and the restart, to move up a few spots. I’ve never been more happy to get to a street course in my life. Let’s bring on Toronto!”
SHELBY BLACKSTOCK – #51
Qualifying: 13th – 160.749 mph
Race: Start – 13th / Finish – 13th
Driver Quote: “It was an extremely tough weekend in Iowa. The car started pretty loose and got worse as the race went on. I’m looking forward to Toronto this coming weekend.”
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.
Photo: Belardi-Lights-Iowa-Urrutia.jpg (1500 x 1000 pixels web-ready JPEG)
Possible Caption: Belardi Auto Racing’s Santi Urrutia delivered once again, driving from 11th to second in the Mazda Iowa 100 (Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography)