Belardi Auto Racing Barber Recap
 April 22, 2018| 
  • Team News
Belardi Barber 2018 recap

Birmingham, Ala.- With rounds three and four in the books for the 2018 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, Aaron Telitz and Santiago Urrutia are looking ahead to the rest of the season with the next set of races on the road course at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Starting with practice 1 on Friday, both Belardi Auto Racing drivers were quick right out of the gate. Telitz was one of the first to take to the track and began to build on what he and the team had established in a prior test session a couple of weeks before. Teammate Urrutia went out about half way through the session and immediately was quick. After running only seven laps, Urrutia set a session best time and pulled into pit lane. Aaron felt very comfortable with the setup of his car and wound up in the 3rd position.

Qualifying was up next for the team, and it went very similar to the practice session. Both drivers were consistently up front and battling with the other quick cars, constantly swapping quick times. Ultimately Urrutia was set to begin the race in 3rd followed immediately by Telitz in the 4th position.

Unfortunately race 1 of the weekend did not go to plan for Aaron Telitz. Going into corner number 3, Telitz was collected in an incident as the result of a spin by Andretti Autosport driver Dalton Kellett. Urrutia ran a very strong and consistent race, never losing his starting position and was able to bring the no. 5 car home in the 3rd position, his third podium finish in as many races.

“Today was good, we got the podium but we need to get wins,” said Urrutia. “We need the big points. With only eight cars in the series, you know everyone is going to be on the podium at some point. You make the difference when you win. I think what we did in St. Pete was good because it was such a tough weekend for us. I know the guys are going to work hard, we have the data from everything so we are going to work and find the problem.”   

Qualifying for race 2 was a completely different situation than qual. 1, with the weather playing a major factor. Right before the session began a steady rain began, making the track rather slick so the engineers set the car up for wet weather running. Right before both Telitz and Urrutia went out to throw some laps down the rain came to a complete halt. Due to the rapid changes in weather, both drivers decided to take it easy and set some solid times instead of try to push and risk hurting the car. Again the lineup saw Belardi teammates starting one behind the other, with Santi in the 4th position and Telitz in the 5th position.

Having moved the race start time up by a couple of hours to avoid a major down pour, engineers had to make the tough decision to stick with a full wet setup or a dry setup made for flat out speed. Not wanting to tempt mother nature, engineers Kent Boyer and Tim Neff decided to play it safe and go for a full rain set up. After the initial start, both Belardi drivers held their starting positions as a single file train began to form. Within the first 10 laps, Aaron passed his teammate Urrutia for the 4th position and held that spot until the conclusion of the 30 lap event. Urrutia was battling a bit of understeer in the corners, due to the wet conditions but did a great job navigating his car through the wet course. Ultimately Aaron finished in the 4th position followed by Urrutia in the 5th position.

“Well, my luck got mildly better at Barber this weekend,” said Telitz. “We started out the weekend well. Our Belardi Auto Racing car was great out of the box and we had a car fast enough for the front row of race one but somehow managed to catch a slower car in qualifying. Race one didn’t go as planned, with Dalton spinning right in front of me in turn 3. Qualifying 2 was going well too with a lap good enough for P3 only to be given a penalty for blocking. Race 2 the track was wet but it was drying and my car was not setup for a drying track. We were banking on some more rain which never came. I was quite relieved to finally bring my car home in one piece. P4. We’re on the board now.”

Rounds 5 and 6 of the Indy Lights championship will be contested on the beautiful Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on May 11th and 12th. Urrutia sits 2nd in the overall championship standings, only 16 points out of first place. Telitz is seated in the 7th position in the standings following trouble in St. Pete and the first lap incident in race 1 at Barber Motorsports Park, 51 points out of first place.     

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