Glory for Belardi Auto Racing at Long Beach
 April 17, 2014| 
  • Team News

Chaves captures Round Two win with perfect run in California

Brownsburg, Ind. – Belardi Auto Racing was the team to beat on Sunday (April 13) during race two of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, as Gabby Chaves executed a bold first lap pass en route to a perfect win on the historic Long Beach street circuit in Southern California. Rookie teammate Alex Baron was part of the mix up front before ultimately adding to the Indiana-based squad’s points tally with a sixth-place finish. With a win and runner-up finish to start the 2014 campaign, Belardi Auto Racing is positioned to fight for more wins and the championship title each and every time on track.

A little over a week after just missing out on a trip to Victory Lane to start the 2014 season, Belardi Auto Racing’s talented duo of Chaves and Baron were back behind the wheels on another demanding concrete-lined street circuit. This time around it was the historic 1.968-mile Long Beach course south of downtown Los Angeles to conquer. As planned, the opening two practice runs were utilized to get acclimated to the track and conditions as they altered, as well as fine-tune the setups on the cars for the always vital qualifying run. Piloting the No. 5 Marca Colombia/Coldeportes racer, Chaves made the most of his runner-up finish last year in Long Beach and skills to post the quickest lap in both sessions. Baron, showcasing his natural talents, and the expertise of the Belardi Auto Racing crew, was just as impressive after ending the two outings in third despite having never seen the course previously.

When qualifying got underway one day later, the action was as intense as expected. Every racer was looking for the ideal flying lap in order to secure an important front-running starting position. Things were going as planned for Belardi Auto Racing early in the timed run, with Chaves leading the way, followed closely by the No. 4 Liberty Engineering/13th Avenue/Synova/Stand 21/Bell entry of his French teammate. Just past the halfway mark, the order shuffled, with Baron taking over the P1 position. From that point forward, it appeared that it would be an all Belardi front-row for the start of race two, but just as the checkered flag waved the ordered shuffled yet again, with Chaves just missing the pole by two hundredths of a second, and Baron falling to fourth, seven hundredths of a second back of the fast time.

When the Belardi Auto Racing cars rolled back on-track race day, the focus was getting a good launch at the waving of the green flag, and make the most of any opportunities or mistakes. Chaves, in what proved to be the ‘Replay XD Move of the Race promptly executed a bold pass for the lead, emerging from a three-car duel at the end of Shoreline Drive. Chaves came under attack throughout the 45-lap affair, particularly in the closing stages. The title-contender never put a wheel wrong after his superb start, leading every lap, capturing his first win of 2014, and the second of his series career.

“It was an awesome race,” stated Chaves. “Definitely, after qualifying, I really wanted to take back the lead. We were quickest in both practice sessions and really comfortable up in the front. It all came down to turn one. We had a great start and the clean line for braking, so I was just able to brake a bit deeper than Zach (Veach) and control the race from there.”

Behind his race-winning teammate, Baron got away cleanly when the green flag waved as well, maintaining his starting position. While the series newcomer was initially able to fight for a potential podium position, as the action progressed, his race became a solitary affair. Baron was running fast consistent laps in isolation, unfortunately a minor error resulted in both a loss of track position and places. In the end, the French pilot crossed the stripe in sixth, a result not indicative of his pace and skill.

“It was only my second race in Lights, and I know that I progressed a lot with my team,” stated Baron. “I was a little bit disappointed after the qualifying session because I was P1 until the last seconds of the session. Unfortunately, I made a mistake in the last lap and ended up P4, only seven tenths off. For the race, my first priority was to help Gabby at the start and I think we did a good job. During the race, I was more inconsistent and I know that these are the points I have to work on now. My manager and my team asked me to progress on each weekend, and it’s my goal. I will do everything possible to be on the podium at Barber. I am also very happy for Gabby, Brian (Belardi) and all the guys in our team. They did a great job and I am sure we will have a lot of success together very soon.”

The chase for the next Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires win for Belardi Auto Racing takes place on April 26, when race three of the 14-race title fight takes place at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. Chaves travels to the picturesque road course second in the championship chase, one point behind the leader, while Baron is currently ninth in the standings.

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 Indy Lights and USF2000 Championship in 2013.

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