Belardi’s Chaves Scores Again at Pocono
 July 8, 2014| 
  • Team News

Back-to-back speedway wins puts Belardi Auto Racing into championship lead

LONG POND, Pa. – With the momentum and confidence gained from their thrilling win in the Freedom 100 still fueling their drive, Belardi Auto Racing unloaded the trailer at Pocono Raceway last Thursday focused on one thing – winning their second straight Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires oval event of the year. Despite rain that forced the cancellation of a full day of practice on Friday, the team hit the track on Saturday morning and was immediately up to speed. By the end of the day, Belardi’s Gabby Chaves was standing on the top of the podium celebrating his fourth win of the year and second in a row. Chaves took the lead on lap seven of the 40-lap contest, handled all challenges after an early-race yellow flag restart, and proceeded to power away to a 7.7028-second victory that now gives him an 11-point lead in the championship standings.

The Belardi team dialed a strong baseline set-up into Chaves’ Dallara for the Saturday morning practice session, and on a green track that had been pelted by Thursday and Friday rain, Chaves was the quickest of the Indy Lights field. The Columbian was the only driver in the 48-second bracket and the balance of his car was positive, despite having to deal with a strong tail wind down the frontstretch into the lightning-fast turn one at Pocono. The wind did, however, play a role in qualifying as a big gust surprised Gabby as he transitioned into the opening corner during his first flying lap. Chaves was forced to get fully out of the throttle and needed to fight to keep the car out of the wall. The first lap fell short in terms of setting up a pole-worthy two-lap average and even though Chaves came back with the fastest single lap of the session at over 185 mph, he was forced to settle for fourth on the grid.

When the race went green, Chaves settled quickly into the lead battle and eventually moved himself into position to take the point, a pass that earned him the RePlay XD Move of the Race. After a yellow flag period for an incident involving Luiz Razia, Gabby controlled the restart and simply drove away to the crucial victory. It was his fourth win of the year and gives the team a two-for-two record in oval events in 2014.

“I’m very pleased with our race in Pocono, our car was hooked up from the first practice,” Chaves offered. “Unfortunately, we made a small change for qualifying and didn’t take into account the track changing after IndyCar practice and we missed our balance and in return, probably the most dominant pole we could have had yet. I knew I had the fastest car for the race, so I set out to grab the lead early and try to pull out a commanding lead. We did just that and I couldn’t be happier for myself and my team!”

Chaves and his Belardi Auto Racing crew will now look to forward to their trip north of the border for their next event, as both their USF2000 Championship and Indy Lights teams will take to the streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada on July 18-20 for the Honda Indy Toronto. Chaves finished third in last year’s edition of the Indy Lights race, and just as he did in Pocono, will aim to climb those final two steps to grab victory.

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, Ind., Belardi Auto Racing contests multi-car efforts in both the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda series. Goal-oriented and focused on developing the next stars of motorsports, Belardi Auto Racing won in both the Indy Lights and USF2000 Championships in 2013.

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