Telitz and Blackstock add top-10 finishes to team’s performance total
ELKHART LAKE, WI (June 25, 2017) – Belardi Auto Racing competed in their home state of Wisconsin this past weekend, taking to the iconic four-mile Road America facility for an Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires doubleheader in support of the Verizon IndyCar Series, and the team’s trio of drivers logged a total of four top-10 finishes. Santiago Urrutia scored the team’s best result, battling to a well-deserved second place finish in Race 1, while Aaron Telitz and Shelby Blackstock starred in Race 2, finishing fifth and sixth, respectively. All three drivers are now firmly in the top-10 of the championship heading into the second half of the season, with Telitz leading the way in fifth, 50 points out of the lead. Urrutia and Blackstock are now eighth and ninth in the standings.
“The team and our drivers worked hard all weekend long to improve our set-ups in the search for speed, and they certainly got there for Sunday,” commented Brian Belardi, team owner. “Santi showed his aggressive side in the first race and made some brilliant passes, and Aaron and Shelby dug in and moved forward on Sunday to get a couple of strong results as well. Santi would have had another solid result if it were not for his tire issue. We obviously wanted more, having won here last year, but we’ll take what we can and move to Iowa. The team was on top of things there as well, and all three of the guys should be in the fight.”
The team did not give itself a strong launching pad for the weekend assault in the qualifying session for Race 1, as Blackstock led the charge in seventh. Urrutia and Telitz timed in 10th and 11th, fighting with poor balance in their cars. The team was not fazed and continued to pour over data to fine-tune their set-ups to challenge for the win and the podium.
Despite his deep starting position for the opening race, Urrutia was not going to be stopped, as he was in full attack mode to push from 10th to sixth as the field approached the opening corner. Santi kept on it and passed on the outside to take fifth and then went inside Neil Alberico for fourth. Heading down the hill to Turn 3, he then passed Kyle Kaiser for third, although Kaiser got him back heading into the braking zone of Turn 5. Urrutia quickly reset, and his attack was quick and effective, as after settling into fourth, he made a tremendous pass to take over second in turn five, knifing to the inside of Kaiser and Ryan Norman while Kaiser was attempting to out-brake Norman. Santi made it three-wide and passed both drivers as he exited the corner. Once into the position, Santi built a little cushion, and even though Kaiser closed late and put on the pressure, Urrutia held second through to the checkered flag. Blackstock had a strong run all race and finished eighth, while Telitz was not able to make up any ground, finishing where he started in 11th.
The tides turned in Race 2, as all three Belardi cars were on the move. Urrutia and Telitz improved their pace in qualifying, as Santi was fifth quick while Telitz stepped forward from 11th to seventh. At the green flag, Telitz was on the move and made his way to fifth early after getting by Alberico and then his teammate. Aaron then worked to slowly reel in the battle for second ahead of him, but ran out of time and would finish a strong fifth in the final tally. Urrutia had sixth locked up until the final lap when he suffered left rear tire failure heading through the high-speed Kink corner. The Uruguayan masterfully controlled his Dallara and kept the car out of the Armco barriers, as then nursed the crippled car back to pit lane to finish 11th. Blackstock enjoyed his best race of the weekend and had been pressuring Norman for seventh over the final laps of the race, making the move in turn five to grab the stop. Urrutia’s tire issue advanced Shelby to sixth, completing a consistent weekend for the Charlotte, NC resident.
The Belardi Auto Racing team packed up and hit the road immediately bound for Iowa Speedway, where the team will test this Wednesday, ahead of the official series event at the 7/8-mile track on July 8-9.
All the on-track action from Iowa 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 – ROUNDS 8/9 – JUNE 23-25, 2017
ROAD AMERICA – ELKHART LAKE, WI
SANTIAGO URRUTIA – #5
Qualifying 1: 10th – 1:54.215
Qualifying 2: 5th – 1:52.403
Race #1: Start – 10th / Finish – 2nd
Race #2: Start – 5th / Finish – 11th
Driver Quote: “I know what I need to do to get back in the championship, and that is to win races. I pushed as hard as I could in Race 1 and I was going to the front. The aggressive pass I made in turn five was necessary and I knew I could get it done. We didn’t have the car perfect for the race, so I needed to drive hard. The second place finish was good for points, but I need more. I was sixth in Race 2 when the tire exploded, and that hurts a lot. I’ll come back even hungrier when we get to Iowa. I want to take this opportunity to thank my sponsors – BSE of Uruguay, Arrow Electronics and Belardi Auto Racing.”
AARON TELITZ – #9
Qualifying 1: 11th – 1:54.287
Qualifying 2: 7th – 1:52.479
Race #1: Start – 11th / Finish – 11th
Race #2: Start – 7th / Finish – 5th
Driver Quote: “Sunday was a much better day than the rest of the weekend. We’ve been struggling a little bit with pace and under braking, but the car was great at the start of Race 2. I managed to make up a couple spots at the beginning, then had a great battle with Neil Alberico and my teammate Santi (Urrutia). I started to catch second through fourth, but ran out of time, push-to-pass and rear tires. I want to give a big thanks to Belardi Auto Racing for working with me all weekend and getting my car the best at the end. I was definitely happy to end my home race on a high note and the top-five.”
SHELBY BLACKSTOCK – #51
Qualifying 1: 7th – 1:54.007
Qualifying 2: 10th – 1:52.626
Race #1: Start – 7th / Finish – 8th
Race #2: Start – 10th / Finish – 6th
Driver Quote: “In the end, it was a pretty good weekend at Road America. In Race 2, I got pushed off at the start and fell back to last. The team gave me a mega car though, and I was able to battle up to sixth. It felt like a win after where I was at the end of the first lap. It was the best car I’ve had all year and I want to thank the team for all their hard work! Onto Iowa.”
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-RA-Urrutia.jpg (1500 x 1000 pixels web-ready JPEG)
Possible Caption: Belardi Auto Racing’s Santi Urrutia turned in an impressive effort in Race 1 at Road America, advancing from 10th to second (Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography)