Toronto, Ont., Canada – After the 9-hour trip from the Belardi Auto Racing shop in Brownsburg, Indiana to the beautiful downtown streets of Toronto, the entire Belardi team and drivers were ready to go as soon as the cars made their way out of the transporters.
Practice on Friday was later in the day, which gave the team extra time to prepare the beautiful red Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires machines.
Taking to the bumpy and tight street circuit as soon as the green flag was thrown, the team was delighted to see that both cars had speed and the drivers felt comfortable with the baseline setup they started on. Santiago wound up 2nd in the session only a tenth out of 1st. Aaron experienced an issue when shifting that prevented him from running with his teammate, but the No. 9 guys quickly diagnosed the problem and rectified it.
Heading into round 1 of qualifying early Saturday morning, both Belardi Auto Racing drivers felt they had a shot to claim top honors. Rolling immediately as the session started, both drivers began clicking off lap after lap, seeing what type of car they had under them in qualifying trim. Both Urrutia and Telitz were quick, at one time being 1st and 2nd. The lineup heading into race No. 1 had Urrutia in 3rd with teammate Telitz in 4th.
Race No. 1 had it all, rain, passes and overall craziness. As the Belardi Auto Racing team rolled their cars to the starting grid, a slight drizzle began to wash over the track. The race got off to a wild start as Colton Herta had trouble getting rolling and left no open lane for Santiago to use. Making slight contact with Herta, Urrutia had damage to his front wing but not enough to force a stop, but did send him to the back of the field to last place.
Aaron was able to make his way into 2nd place and was maintaining position, while teammate Urrutia was picking cars off left and right working his way back to the front of the field. Close to the half way point in the 35 lap event, Aaron sat 2nd with Santiago right behind in 3rd, after some slight contact between the teammates Santiago was 2nd with Aaron 4th. Doing all they could to make up ground to 1st, it was to no avail. Santiago finished 2nd with Aaron 4th.
Sunday was a very dominating performance for the entire Belardi Auto Racing team, starting off with the early morning qualifying session that saw Santiago battling for the top spot the entirety of the session and beating out Pato O’Ward for 1st. Aaron Telitz also experienced a strong qualifying session just getting beat by Herta. Due to Herta’s Incident at the end of qualifying, Aaron would be bumped up 1 spot into 3rd.
On the start, Urrutia got a jump and never looked back, leading all 35 laps and cruising into victory lane. Urrutia never truly had to fend off O’Ward and was able to make a gap while Telitz began pressuring 2nd place.
“We’ve been struggling, so I’m very happy to get this win, especially for the Belardi guys who have worked so hard. It was super physical today. Pato was quicker than me early but once the grip came in, I was quicker. I’m happy, we needed this. It’s been frustrating lately and it’s been tough to be behind the Andretti cars, but we never give up. The engineers and mechanics did a great job to give me the best car today. I made some mistakes early and nearly hit the wall in Turn Five late in the race to let Pato catch up but, other than that, there was no pressure.” – Santiago Urrutia
Aaron Telitz also had a strong race also cementing the 1st and 3rd finish for the Belardi Auto Racing team. Telitz constantly was putting pressure on 2nd place O’Ward, but unfortunately just ran out of laps and wound up bringing the No. 9 car home on the podium.
“It was super greasy today in the heat – I think all of us nearly crashed early in the race. As the race continued, we got in a groove, but I was still thankful when the checkered flag came out. It was a pretty up-and-down weekend. We were looking at a podium finish yesterday but had a bit of a mishap in turn three and had to pit for a new wing. For some reason, we just didn’t have it in qualifying this morning, so this is one of those days in which a podium feels like a win. Any good result feels good after the start to the season that we had, but that will make the first win this year feel that much better – and I know it’s coming.” – Aaron Telitz
Next up for the team is the double header weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Urruita was able to make big gains in the championship hopes sitting 3rd only 40 points out of 1st. Aaron Telitz remains 6th in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship points only 8 points behind Ryan Norman.
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.