Podium Finish for Hometown Belardi Auto Racing
 May 11, 2019| 
  • Team News
Belardi Indy GP Recap 2019

Speedway, Ind. – Belardi Auto Racing got May underway this past weekend on the road course at the hallowed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with two Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires races.


The team ended the weekend on a high note with a second place finish in race two by Zachary Claman.

The weekend kicked off on Thursday with two test sessions and an official practice session.  Due to the slight rain and then a drying period, it was difficult to get a handle on the track conditions.  Lucas Kohl wound up second, turning the second most laps at five.  Zachary Claman and his engineer Tim Neff decided the conditions were too inconsistent and only turned one lap in the session.

The second session was much more productive for the Belardi Auto Racing team, turning a combined total of 40 laps.  Zachary Claman wound up fourth in the session with Lucas Kohl eighth.

The first official practice session of the weekend ran later in the day and saw Zachary Claman only turning five laps and then parking his Dallara IL-15, stating that he was very confident in the car.  Lucas Kohl kept turning laps and learning as much as he could, making an additional 21 laps.

The two qualifying sessions were tough for Belardi Auto Racing as engineers were trying to hit a moving car setup because of the changing weather.  Both Zachary Claman and Lucas Kohl qualified in the same positions for both races, with Zachary in sixth, and Lucas in ninth.

Race No. 1 saw very cold and cloudy conditions, making the racetrack surface very slick and even more treacherous.  Zachary Claman was able to get past the No. 79 machine of David Malukas, finishing in the fifth position.

Lucas Kohl had a much more difficult race, trying to learn how the Dallara IL-15 runs in the cold weather and dealing with the slick conditions.  Lucas was able to set some strong lap times and brought the car home in the ninth position.

Race two was very exciting on the opening lap, as Zachary Claman was able to jump up from his sixth place starting position and maneuver his way into third place, all in the first turn.  A few laps later the second-place car of Robert Megennis went off and Zachary was able to get by for second.  From there, it was all about maintaining the gap to third place Oliver Askew, a task that Zachary did very well.  As the 35-lap event received the checkered flag, Zachary Claman brought the Belardi Auto Racing No. 13 home second with a little over a three-second gap to third.

“In the first corner I got a good start, I was able to get on power early and anticipate the green which gave me a good run. I got to the outside and was thinking I could out brake the two cars ahead of me, but then I saw a puff of smoke and saw a black and orange car steaming in.  I figured it would be better to just back off a bit and just try to get a cross over and it ended up working out and I was just able to make it through.  I slid into third and got on the radio to my team and said, “that’s how we do it.”  I don’t know what happened to Megennis, but he went off and that was another position handed to me.  From there I just ran my own race, stayed out of trouble and hit my marks.  Oliver kept me on my toes during the race, and it reminded me of our karting days.  I was nervous because he was just outside of the push to pass range, but my engineer Tim Neff was updating me every lap about the gap because I knew if Oliver got to the push to pass range it would be a difficult job holding him off.  Looking at the weekend as a whole, on Thursday I thought we were awesome but for qual. one and race one we tried something and it just didn’t work.  Also, in race one I was just too conservative, so in race two I decided to be vintage Zach and just go for it. It doesn’t always work like in COTA, but today it did and I’m very happy with the result,” said Zachary Claman.

Lucas Kohl had a difficult weekend when looking at results, but his improvement was evident. Lucas was battling with the No. 48 car of Ryan Norman during the opening stages of the race, but ultimately had to settle for ninth place as he had an issue with a sensor that is a part of the push to pass system.

“Overall it was a difficult weekend for our No. 5 team, if you look at it strictly from a results perspective. This weekend however was very important for me as I learned every session I was on track and was able to consistently better my times, and even had some laps in wet weather. All of this will help me later down the line as I have more information and experience in different weather conditions.  I am extremely confident in my team and myself and believe that we can continue to improve and have a great run at the oval.  We had a productive test at Kentucky that showed we have the pace on ovals, now we just need to go execute,” said Lucas Kohl. 

Belardi Auto Racing and its two drivers get ready for the crown jewel event on the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires calendar, the Freedom 100 Presented by Cooper Tires starting with testing on May 20. Practice and qualifying follow later on in the week, taking place on May 23. The Freedom 100 Presented by Cooper Tires will be taking place on May 24, with the green flag flying at 1:00pm.

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