Portland, OR (September 2, 2018) – The final weekend for the Belardi Auto Racing team in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires has come and gone as the team completed the Soul Red Finale at the Portland International Raceway this past weekend.
The track opened up for Indy Lights practice on Friday morning and Belardi Auto Racing’s No. 5 and No. 9 cars immediately took to the track for the 40-minute practice session. Time on track was even that more important than normal, due to the drivers and team not having experience on the 1.97-mile road course. The first practice session was used to gather as much data and make as many adjustments to the cars, to see what worked best for Aaron and Santiago.
As the drivers and engineers went about their debrief, the mechanics on both cars began to make the setup changes that were called for by Kent Boyer (No. 9 engineer) and Tim Neff (No. 5 engineer), in anticipation for the qualifying session only 1 hour and 20 minutes after the conclusion of practice.
The Belardi Auto Racing team rolled out to pit lane for qualifying, feeling confident in the setups they had bolted on both cars. To the delight of the team, both the No. 5 and No. 9 cars were quick for the majority of the qualifying session. As the minutes wound down, the time sheet showed Aaron Telitz in 3rd with Santiago Urrutia in 5th.
Heading into Saturday, the team faced the final qualifying session early in the morning with race No. 1 scheduled for later in the afternoon. The last qualifying session of the year ended with a great result for the Belardi team, having Aaron Telitz qualifying 2nd with Santiago Urrutia in 3rd.
The opening lap of race No. 1 had all the madness you would expect from the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires series. Telitz was trying to be as aggressive as possible diving into turn 1, unfortunately he experienced a massive brake lockup which ultimately flat spotted his tires, making a win extremely difficult for the Wisconsin native.
Santiago Urrutia was pushed wide on the start, but was able to get away cleanly and bring his No. 5 car home a respectable 4th while Aaron Telitz finished 6th.
Race No. 2 on the weekend, the Soul Red Finale, was an impressive day for Belardi Auto Racing. The start saw a 6 wide attempt into turn 1 resulting in contact for a majority of the field, while Telitz and Urrutia got away cleanly and restarted 1st and 2nd.
Over the ensuing laps, Urrutia was able to get past his Belardi teammate Telitz and take over the top spot. As the laps began to wind down, O’Ward was able to ruin the Belardi party, by jumping the No. 5 and No. 9 for the top spot.
The final race results of the season saw Aaron Telitz matching his best result of the season, 2nd, with his teammate Santiago Urrutia capping off the podium in 3rd place.
The 2018 season was a season that saw a couple of wins, poles and a bunch of podiums for Belardi Auto Racing and its drivers. The team as always, kept grinding away and working hard every day to get better and that will not change. As we head into the off season, the team has a short break before heading to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course for the Chris Griffith’s test on September 22nd -23rd. Make sure to continue to follow Belardi Auto Racing through the offseason to keep up to date on the latest news and fun behind the scenes videos and pictures. Belardi Auto Racing would also like to thank Mazda for their support all these years of the Mazda Road to Indy Program. We will miss running those Mazda engines, but wish them luck on their future endeavors.
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.