Belardi Auto Racing and Veach Score Watkins Glen Triumph
 September 4, 2016| 
  • Team News

WATKINS GLEN, NY – Belardi Auto Racing can add another name to the list of iconic racing circuits where they’ve visited victory lane after Zach Veach scored a dominant and emotional Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires win at Watkins Glen International this past weekend. The 21-year-old American talent overcame the physically and mentally demanding circuit to win by 3.6268 seconds, perfectly managing his Cooper tires and his lead cushion all race long. 

The team worked hard during Friday practice and Saturday morning qualifying to give Veach a set-up that would excel in the 25-lap main event later that same day, and the single-car squad again triumphed over the larger two and three-car teams in the series to win the day. The victory keeps Belardi and Veach in the championship chase, now just 31 points behind the leader heading into the doubleheader finale for the top rung of the Mazda Road to Indy, which will take place this coming weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. 

“This was a huge team win for everyone, quarterbacked by our engineer Kent Boyer and run into the end zone by Zach,” Brian Belardi enthused. “We focused on our game plan and it truly paid off. I’m so happy for the team and for Zach and it’s great that we’re still in the hunt for the title heading to Monterey this weekend.  This is our fifth win of the year and we have great momentum.  We’re ready to take a run at the championship and we’re excited to start talking to more drivers for 2017.  Adding this win at Watkins Glen to victories we’ve earned at incredible tracks like Indianapolis, Long Beach, Milwaukee, St. Pete, Pocono and Toronto is another huge addition to our resume.” 

Veach and the team worked through the Friday practice sessions at Watkins Glen to set their baseline for Saturday morning qualifying, during which Zach was able to push the car to lay down a lap of 1:32.7945. This pace was good enough for fifth on the grid. 

Heading into the main event, Veach knew that he’d need to attack quickly in an effort to get ahead of the polesitter Santiago Urrutia, who was the championship point leader coming into the Watkins Glen weekend.  Zach proceeded aggressively in the five-wide run into Turn 1 at the green flag and was able to roll around the outside of the field as they fought for the apex. The Stockdale, Ohio driver then challenged Urrutia during the first run up through the Esses, going side-by-side with the point leader to grab the lead position before they arrived at the famed Bus Stop complex.  Once into the lead, Veach never looked back as he quickly left the field to battle amongst themselves for second, opening up a three-second lead during the first five laps. 

While others struggled to maintain the performance of their tires, Veach managed his pace like the seasoned pro that he is, taking care of his Coopers while settling into an extremely quick pace.  The race went green to checker, and Veach led every lap. 

This crucial victory has allowed Veach to close to within 31 points of Urrutia with two races remaining on the schedule in Monterey this weekend.  Ahead of the championship fight, Zach will log some extremely valuable experience on Thursday when he will slip behind the wheel of an IndyCar at Sonoma Raceway with Ed Carpenter Racing, getting the opportunity to drive Josef Newgarden’s #21 entry.  He’ll travel that evening to Monterey to begin an all-out fight for the title.  Veach and the Belardi crew will be focused on winning both races and letting the championship chips fall where they may. 

On-track action for the Indy Lights finale at the 11-turn, 2.238-mile Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca begins with practice on Friday morning and there will be two races held during the weekend, one each on Saturday and Sunday. 

BELARDI AUTO RACING – DRIVER RESULTS AND QUOTES

INDY LIGHTS – ROUND 16 – SEPTEMBER 1-2, 2016

WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL – WATKINS GLEN, NY 

Zach Veach - #5

Qualifying: 5th – 1:32.7945

Race #1: Start – 5th / Finish – 1st   

Driver Quote: “This race will go down as the drive of my career so far for me. Being able to go from 5th to 1st on the start and then having the car to be able to keep the lead and control the race through the end made for one of those days where everything worked out perfectly. I'm so proud of my team. Also, to be getting the win right before my IndyCar test gives me a lot of extra confidence going into my first time in an IndyCar, so I hope to be able to perform as well as I did this weekend and show that I'm ready for the Verizon IndyCar series.”

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 and Watkins Glen.

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