Urrutia Drives to Second on IMS Road Course for Belardi Auto Racing
 May 17, 2017| 
  • Team News

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – This year’s Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires event on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a three-day battle for Belardi Auto Racing, and the team never quit in their search for the right balance on their Dallara IL-15 race cars. Santi Urrutia posted the team’s best result in the second race of the weekend, leveraging a fantastic start to finish in the runner-up position.

Urrutia had to fight back from a rough outing in Race 1, while Shelby Blackstock has the reverse experience, finishing ninth on Friday before an off-track excursion dropped him to 14thon Saturday. Aaron Telitz, the team’s Mazda Scholarship-backed driver, fought hard for every position, carding a sixth in Race 1 and a 13th in Race 2. On a positive note, two of the team drivers closed their individual gaps on the championship lead, as the point leader coming into the event struggled in both races, which tightens things up heading into the upcoming Freedom 100. 

“The team has been challenged during the last two events, and they’ve showed their tenacity, putting in the hours in the engineering room and under the tent,” offered Brian Belardi, team owner. “We kept after it, and we were continually improving the set-up, but with only five official sessions to get it done, which includes the two races, if you’re off to even a little, it’s tough to get a good result.  This series is just so unbelievably competitive.” 

Urrutia’s weekend was hot and cold, as the team worked non-stop to find the balance for their car set-up.  Santi qualified fifth for the first race of the weekend, which was held on Friday afternoon, and the team knew that work still needed to be done to improve their race pace. Blackstock was seventh in the order, while Telitz timed in eighth. 

At the green flag of Race 1, Telitz got a monster start and moved to third, although he would eventually slip to sixth, which was still an improvement on his starting position.  The race went green to checker with no incidents, and this left Urrutia in seventh and Blackstock in ninth. The team scored three top-10s, and although we always want to win and be on the podium, all three drivers made up ground in the championship chase. 

Santi was much quicker in Saturday morning qualifying for Race 2 as he laid down a fast lap to finish the session in fourth, putting him on the outside of the second row for the day’s 40-lap race, which took place right before the INDYCAR Grand Prix.  Blackstock was 10th, although he was just over a tenth out of sixth due to the high level of competition in the Indy Lights program this year. Telitz battled in qualifying and was 13th at the end of the session. 

Urrutia was charging as soon as the green flag was displayed, jumping into second with a strong move to the inside of turn one.  Santi made two strong attempts to take the lead from Kyle Kaiser, but just couldn’t quite hold the spot and dropped to third after the second move when he was overtaken by Matheus Leist. The Uruguayan then went back on the offensive and made an impressive move on Leist in turn 12 to re-take second, a position he would hold to the finish. It was a crucial recovery to salvage the weekend, closing him to within 52 points of the championship lead. 

Blackstock was pushed wide at the start and dropped a few positions, but he stayed focused and got them back in the early going. However, in pushing for another spot, he went off in the turn one runoff and misjudged the re-entry lane and got high-centered on the curbing, losing two laps. When he returned to the track a handful of seconds in front of the leaders, he was able to run their pace, which was a positive.  Telitz fought hard to gain a position inside the top-10, but had to settle for 13thin the final tally. 

The Belardi Auto Racing hauler was driven just over eight miles from IMS back to the team’s race shop in Brownsburg, Indiana, where the team will begin prepping the cars to tackle Indy’s full 2.5-mile.  Urrutia, Blackstock and Telitz will all compete in the Freedom 100 on Carb Day (May 26), gunning for the team’s third win in the prestigious event.  Belardi Auto Racing visited the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway victory lane with Peter Dempsey in 2013 and Gabby Chaves in 2014. 

BELARDI AUTO RACING – DRIVER RESULTS AND QUOTES

INDY LIGHTS – ROUNDS 5/6 – May 11-13, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY – INDIANAPOLIS, IN 

SANTIAGO URRUTIA - #5

Qualifying 1: 5th – 1:14.4937

Qualifying 2: 4th – 1:15.3236

Race #1: Start – 5th / Finish – 7th

Race #2: Start – 4th / Finish – 2nd 

Driver Quote: “I think that, overall, it was a weekend with up and downs. I think that at the beginning of the weekend, we struggled to get the speed out of the car. It was a similar weekend to Barber, as we didn’t have the pace at the start but we found it by the end, and we were two tenths quicker. We just need to find the set-up when we unload, which I think will be the key to success in the Freedom 100.  Overall, it was good to be back on the podium, and it was good points. The plan is to take big points in the next races so that we close up in the championship.” 

AARON TELITZ - #9

Qualifying 1: 8th – 1:15.7698

Qualifying 2: 13th – 1:15.8340

Race #1: Start – 8th / Finish – 6th

Race #2: Start – 13th / Finish – 13th 

Driver Quote: “The saying ‘even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while’ didn't apply to us this weekend. We were just a blind squirrel who died of starvation. Couldn't find any speed all weekend although we had a good fun scrap in race one, coming from eighth up to sixth with some good battles on track. We just couldn't find the speed to get onto the podium or battle for a race win. Race 2 was a struggle with some car issues that hampered us and we finished way back in the pack. So far the month of May hasn't been very nice to me, so I am hoping that things turn around for us on the speedway oval for the Freedom 100!" 

SHELBY BLACKSTOCK - #51

Qualifying 1: 7th – 1:15.5858

Qualifying 2: 10th – 1:15.6995

Race #1: Start – 7th / Finish – 9th

Race #2: Start – 10th / Finish – 14th 

Driver Quote: “It was not the weekend the 51 crew was looking for. A mixture of bad luck and mistakes really added up. On the bright side, the team learned some things that we can put to use in future races. Looking forward to getting back to work on the oval next week!”

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.

  •  8.3.17| 
    • Team News
  •  8.1.17| 
    • Team News
  •  8.1.17| 
    • Team News
  •  7.30.17| 
    • Team News
  •  7.30.17| 
    • Series News