Belardi Auto Racing Scores Third Straight Podium
 July 15, 2016| 
  • Team News

NEWTON, Iowa – Armed with a new level of confidence fueled by a huge victory and a pair of podium finishes at Road America, Belardi Auto Racing and Zach Veach traveled to 7/8th mile Iowa Speedway in Newton, IA last weekend (July 9-10) for the 11th round of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires series. The 21-year-old Stockdale, Ohio native was impressive through Saturday practice, but a rainout of Sunday qualifying put Veach sixth on the grid for the start of the 100-lap ‘Indy Lights Iowa Challenge,’ as the starting line-up was set by series points.  Undeterred, Zach powered forward steadily and eventually led for 19 laps before finishing a strong second. The impressive result has catapulted Veach and Belardi Auto Racing back into championship contention heading into this weekend’s races on the streets of Toronto. 

“Our team is gelling at a great time to push for the championship, and Zach is providing us with the performances we expected when we signed him in the off-season,” offered Belardi Auto Racing owner Brian Belardi. “He was incredible at Road America and we’re thrilled with his run at Iowa.  Our goal as a team is to keep pushing and chipping away at our deficit in the standings so that we can have a shot at the title when we get to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the finale in September.” 

The Belardi crew tested at Iowa on the Tuesday after Road America, as Zach and his race engineer Kent Boyer put together a great baseline set-up to begin the weekend.  Veach was eighth in the opening practice and then improved to third in the second session, finding a little more speed as the rest of the grid fell off from their pace in the cooler morning outing.  The track staff needed to repair the asphalt in Turns 3 and 4 after the NASCAR Xfinity cars hurt the racing surface in an earlier event, and when these patches were combined with the lessening of a significant bump in Turn 1, the drivers were presented with a new challenge, and Veach handled the conditions superbly. 

A hard rainstorm hit the facility on Sunday morning, scuttling the planned qualifying session, which put Zach on the outside of the third row for the start when the series set the grid by championship points.  On the green flag, Veach wasted no time moving forward, splitting Shelby Blackstock and Kyle Kaiser heading into Turn 1, keeping the throttle pinned as his competitors lifted to make the opening corner unscathed.  Buoyed by confidence in his car, Veach was on the move quickly, getting past Santiago Urrutia before beginning a long battle with Dean Stoneman for third.  It took many laps to set up Stoneman for the pass, as the Brit defended aggressively each time Zach had a run on him.  High or low, Stoneman moved to block any overtaking attempt.  Finally, Zach put his red and white #5 Dallara IL-15 to the topside in Turn 4 and blasted through to take third. 

He quickly set about reeling in Carlin’s Ed Jones, passing him for second, and then used lapped traffic to slip past Jones’ teammate Felix Serralles for the lead with 20 laps to go.  Veach was thwarted in is run for the win by the third Carlin driver – Neil Alberico – got held up just enough for Serralles to slip back by for the win.  Veach challenged on the final lap, but was forced to settle for second.  It was a huge result nonetheless, advancing Zach to fifth in the standings, bringing him into the hunt for the championship. He also set the fastest lap of the race, which earned him an important bonus point. 

The team continued its road trip this week, driving north to Canada and the next Indy Lights race, which will take place this coming weekend on the streets of Toronto. The team had found success in Toronto before, winning with Frenchman Alex Baron in 2014.  Felix Rosenqvist will reunite with the team this weekend as well, as he has an off-weekend from him additional motorsports commitments in Europe.  The team is excited to have him back for Toronto and his additional feedback will play a great role as we aim for another important victory. 

This weekend’s Indy Lights events in Toronto get underway on Friday (July 15) with a 25-minute practice session at 9:20 am EDT and a second session at 3:30 pm in the afternoon. Veach and Rosenqvist will hit the 1.755-mile, 11-turn street circuit for qualifying on Saturday morning (July 16) at 8:25 am.  The opening race of the doubleheader will go green at 12:25 pm on Saturday and the second race will be run on Sunday morning (July 17), before the Verizon IndyCar Series race, at 11:15 am.  All times presented are Eastern Daylight Time. 

Race fans can stay up-to-date all the team action from Toronto by following Belardi Auto Racing and our drivers on social media.  All four sessions will also be streamed in live video on the Mazda Road to Indy TV app or through the following webpage: 

Zach Veach - #5

Qualifying: NA – Rained out – grid set by points

Start: 6th

Finish: 2nd 

Driver Quote: “First off, I just want to say how proud I am of my Belardi Auto Racing team, these past two events have just been exceptional for us. I feel like we've hit that halfway point of the year where we've all gelled really well together and things are coming together.  I think we showed that at Iowa! Being able to fight from sixth to first was an incredible drive for us. We were so close to our second win of the year, but with lapped traffic coming to the white flag, I lost our lead and came home second. It was a tough pill to swallow but, at the end of the day, it was a great race for points. We've brought ourselves back into the championship fight and I look to continue our podium streak alive." 

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 Milwaukee Mile, Pocono and Road America.

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