MONTEREY, Calif. – Despite being a single-car squad for a majority of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season, Belardi Auto Racing capped their 2016 campaign as the winningest team on the final rung of the Mazda Road to Indy.
During the championship finale event that was held this past weekend (September 9-11) at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, CA, Belardi’s star American pilot Zach Veach turned in yet another stellar performance, finishing third on Saturday ahead of a dominant Sunday drive that gave the team its sixth win of the year. Veach started fourth in the second race of the doubleheader and powered around the leaders straight to the point through the opening corners of the 2.238-mile, 11-turn track, and was never challenged en route to a 2.879-second triumph. It was Veach’s third win of the year, joining victories at Road America and Watkins Glen.
“I am so proud of Zach and our entire team for the incredible effort and stellar results that they turned in for Belardi Auto Racing this year,” offered Team Owner Brian Belardi. “We were strong all year with Zach and Felix (Rosenqvist) and the crew is absolutely on their game. We were the top team from May through to the end of the year and we’re really excited about the 2017 season.”
Veach rolled into Monterey riding on the momentum from his win at Watkins Glen, but having not participated in the Indy Lights series last year, he hadn’t run on Mazda Raceway in the Dallara IL-15, so he needed the two practice sessions to get dialed in on the track. Once he hit the racing surface for qualifying on Saturday morning, Veach was on his game and laid down a 1:15.607 to sit fourth in the order. This would put the 21-year-old from Stockdale, Ohio on the outside of row two for both races.
In the opening race, Veach handled the start well and was able to work his way into third in the early going and held the position to post his seventh podium finish of the year. On Sunday, he made it look easy, driving around the field at the start to lead the race by turn three. Veach’s Belardi Auto Racing crew had given him a perfect set-up and Zach simply managed the lead for the remainder of the 38-lap race. The win boosted his podium visits to eight, a capped a run of ten top-10 finishes that included nine in the top-six. Veach ended the season fourth in the championship, just two points behind Kyle Kaiser in third.
Veach’s win at Mazda Raceway made it six victories in total for Belardi Auto Racing in 2017. Zach won at Road America, Watkins Glen and Mazda Raceway, while Felix Rosenqvist stood on top of the podium at St. Petersburg and twice in Toronto.
The team is now focused on the 2017 season and has already opened discussions with drivers for their race seats. Interested drivers should contact Brian Belardi immediately. Test opportunities are currently available for the Chris Griffis Memorial Test on the IMS road course on October 8-9.
BELARDI AUTO RACING – DRIVER RESULTS AND QUOTES
INDY LIGHTS – ROUND 17-18 – SEPTEMBER 9-11, 2016
MAZDA RACEWAY LAGUNA SECA – MONTEREY, CA
Zach Veach - #5
Qualifying: 4th – 1:15.607
Race #1: Start – 4th / Finish – 3rd
Race #2: Start – 4th / Finish – 1st
Driver Quote: “It's been a year to remember for us and none of it would've been possible without Belardi Auto Racing. If we had some better luck, I think we could've won the championship, but I'm happy to say we scored the most points out of any driver from the halfway point on. Winning at the last two race events of the season truly shows how strong of a team I have. I'm so proud of everyone involved.”
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.