Belardi Auto Racing Ready for Mid-Ohio Doubleheader
 July 27, 2017| 
  • Team News

MANSFIELD, OHIO – Belardi Auto Racing will trek to the popular Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend for a crucial Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires doubleheader.  The team’s trio of drivers – Santiago Urrutia, Aaron Telitz and Shelby Blackstock – have all run well and have been on the podium at Mid-Ohio in the past, so expectations of success will be high. Urrutia and Telitz remain in the championship chase, so the pressure is on. The team is coming off a strong run on the streets of Toronto, where both Urrutia and Telitz finished on the podium, so there is momentum as they get set to tackle the facility’s 2.258-mile, 13-turn natural terrain permanent road course. 

“We’ve had some very strong weekends this year, and I think that Toronto was definitely one of them,” offered Brian Belardi, Team Owner. “We unloaded fast, evolved our set-ups through the weekend and we were rewarded with three top-five finishes. If it weren’t for some bad luck and mechanical issues outside of our control, I think we would have posted more top results. The team has momentum and confidence, and all three of our guys have either won at Mid-Ohio or have been quick and on the podium.  I know everyone is committed to scoring race wins and more podiums to get our drivers into the title fight.” 

The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is a popular stop on the Indy Lights schedule, with its 13 turns spread out over its 2.258 miles.  This course is a favorite among many drivers for its high-speed corners and undulating layout, with such iconic corners at the Keyhole, Madness, Thunder Valley and the Carousel.  Speeds can approach up to 170 mph on the backstraight and there’s a lot of room for passing but little room for error.  The track also provides great scenery and wheel-to-wheel action for the fans who pack the track every time the IndyCar stars comes to town. 

Aaron Telitz enters the Mid-Ohio weekend sitting fifth in points, and is coming off had a fantastic weekend in Toronto. Aaron landed two important top-five finishes with a fifth on Saturday in Race 1 and second on Sunday in Race 2.  This overall performance was massive for collecting points, as he remains in mathematical contention for the Indy Lights championship.  This year has been up and down for the 25-year-old, starting with a win in the first race of 2017, but Toronto seems to have put him back on track.  Telitz has enjoyed great success at Mid-Ohio with two podium finishes last year in the Pro Mazda series, making it a run of five straight podium finishes dating back to 2015 in USF2000.  He is now in search for that elusive Mid-Ohio victory. 

Santiago Urrutia’s weekend in Toronto started out on a high note, driving from fifth place on the grid to third in Race 1.  On Sunday, Santi was less than a tenth off the pole time for Race 2, but an engine failure in the race left him with a damaging DNF.  The 20-year-old Uruguayan had climbed to fourth in points after Race 1, but due to his Sunday issues, he has dropped back to sixth in the championship standings.  Santi’s luck hasn’t been on his side this year, but he remains optimistic about the rest of the season.  Mid-Ohio has been a great track for Santi, as two years ago he won in Pro Mazda and last year was able to sweep the Indy Lights doubleheader. Armed with track knowledge and a burning desire to win, Santi is gunning to repeat his 2016 peformances. 

Shelby Blackstock had speed all weekend in Toronto.  On Saturday, he started ninth but he suffered a broken halfshaft as he was leaving the grid for the opening race, which left him with an 11th place finish once the team repaired the failure and got him back out on-track.  Sunday began on a more positive note after he qualified sixth for Race 2, but chaos ensued at the start in Turn 1, and Shelby had nowhere to go when he was collected in the incident.  Blackstock is aiming to reverse his fortunes, and Mid-Ohio is where he scored his first Indy Lights podium in 2015. Last year, he continued his success at the track, scoring a top-five result. 

The weekend schedule for this year’s Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tire Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Presented by Mazda will take place over the course of three days.  Friday, July 27 will kick off with a 45-minute practice session at 8:25 am ET, followed by Qualifying 1 (30 minutes) at 1:30 pm ET.  Saturday, July 26 begins with Qualifying 2 (30 minutes) at 9:10 am ET and ends with Race 1 at 3:35 pm ET.  Sunday, July 27 will cap off the weekend with Race 2 at 1:20 pm ET.  NBCSN’s coverage of the Indy Lights Race 1 will air on Sunday, July 29 at 11:35 am ET, immediately before the Verizon IndyCar Series broadcast. The second race will be shown at 11:30 pm on Sunday evening. The race will be broadcast live on IndyCarRadio and will available on the Road to Indy TV app and the IndyCar.com Race Control page. 

BELARDI AUTO RACING – DRIVER INFORMATION / QUOTES 

SANTIAGO URRUITA - #5

Age: 20

Hometown: Montevideo, Uruguay

Residence: Miguelete, Uruguay

Sponsors: ARROW Electronics, BSE, ANCAP, Antel, Ministerio de Turismo, AgroLavalle, SuperMatch, Fadisol, SINTEPLAS, Secretaría Nacional de Deporte, BMW MotorHaus 

Driver Input: “I’ve done pretty well over the last two years at Mid-Ohio, I won in Pro Mazda two years ago and both Indy Lights races last year. In four years, my worst result was third, so I’m going into the weekend feeling motivated. We, as a team, have been improving a lot and working better together. In Toronto, I got a podium in Race 1 and missed the pole on Sunday by a tenth.  I think Mid-Ohio is going to be a big weekend for us. We need to concentrate on wins to gain some points and positions in the championship.  The key for the weekend is wins.” 

AARON TELITZ - #9

Age: 25

Hometown: Birchwood, WI

Residence: Minneapolis, MN

Sponsors: Mazda, Rice Lake Weighing Systems, Rising Star Racing, Morrie's Chippewa Valley Mazda, Fred Thomas Resort, Cooper Tires, Bell Helmets, Sparco, Team USA Scholarship 

Driver Input: “I’m definitely feeling confident going into Mid-Ohio. The team is working well together, and we just had a successful run in Toronto with a couple of top-five finishes and a strong podium finish in Race 2.  We’re definitely getting our mojo back, which we had earlier in the year and I’m looking forward to finishing out the year strong, starting with a couple of wins at Mid-Ohio.  I’ve finished on the podium the last five races in a row there, so I’d like to continue that streak and hopefully win my first race at Mid-Ohio” 

SHELBY BLACKSTOCK - #51

Age: 27

Hometown: Nashville, TN

Residence: Charlotte, NC

Sponsors: Starstruck, Sparco, AMPED Apparel/Optics, Arai Helmets 

Driver Input: “After the terrible season we've had so far, going into Mid-Ohio, all I'm looking for is a weekend with no drama and with a decent result. We've always been fast at Mid-Ohio and I'm very comfortable there, so hopefully we unload fast and we can go for the win this weekend.” 

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 Grand Prix of Long Beach, 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.

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