Serralles and Belardi Log Another Top-Five
 April 29, 2015| 
  • Team News
Strong recovery for both team drivers at Barber Motorsports Park

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The mark of a great team can often be found in how they deal with unfortunate circumstances, and this past weekend at Barber Motorsports Park during the third Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires event of the season, Belardi Auto Racing was forced to dig deep to overcome issues in their quest for success. When an engine problem hampered one of their drivers early on in the weekend, the team worked tirelessly to put Felix Serralles back in the hunt by changing motors, and they were rewarded with another top-five finish from their rookie star. In Race Two on Sunday, Serralles rebounded from the engine swap to turn in a superb performance that furthered his reputation in the paddock, chasing third-place Max Chilton for 35 laps after advancing aggressively from ninth on the grid at the green flag. - The Puerto Rican’s fourth-place finish comes on the heels of his first Indy Lights podium at Long Beach. Teammate Juan Piedrahita was also forced to battle issues, including an injured hand, but he still attacked Sunday’s event with fervor, completing the weekend with two top-eight results, maintaining his season-long consistency.

“I’m extremely proud of how our team fought through the problems they encountered and how they would not give up on the goal of giving our drivers great racecars for every session,” enthused Brian Belardi, Team Principal. “We’re a small team of passionate people and when we band together, we can get things done with ultimate success. The pedigree of our 2014 championship remains and our drivers responded on Sunday with spirited performances. Felix brought us yet another top-five, which gives us all confidence moving forward to Indy and the month of May. Juan is showing incredible pace and he just needs a little luck to go his way.”

After finding an engine problem with Serralles’ #4 entry after the first practice session on Friday, the team set about swapping the powerplant during the minimal span of three hours that was available before the next session of the packed day, which included two practices and qualifying. The team completed the task with no time to spare and got Felix onto pit lane in time, but it took both Practice Two and Qualifying to get everything dialed in and to diagnose some small problems. Serralles qualified seventh and Piedrahita was 10th, setting up the charge for the opening race of the doubleheader on Saturday.

After challenging for a top-five spot early in Race One, Serralles settled into sixth and turned a faster lap than the driver who eventually finished third. However, the high level of competition in the Indy Lights series made it impossible for him to advance any further. Piedrahita was also showing great pace, as he held off the challenges of Juncos Racing’s Kyle Kaiser and Andretti Autosports’ Shelby Blackstock to finish seventh. In Race Two on Sunday, Serralles benefitted from a monster start to advance to fourth early in the running, and he proceeded to stalk Carlin Racing’s Max Chilton for the entire race, showing the nose of his Dallara IL-15 to the former F1 driver on numerous occasions. Although he challenged, Felix simply could not find the way by Chilton on a track that is notoriously difficult to overtake. Piedrahita was also quick and he was part of an extremely entertaining fight for sixth and ultimately finished eighth, right on the rear wing of Saturday podium finisher RC Enerson.

In the championship standings, Serralles has taken hold of fifth thanks to another strong result, while Piedrahita is locked in a battle for eighth with fellow second-year driver Scott Andersen. With the initial events of the 2015 schedule now behind them, the Belardi drivers and team will now put all their focus on the month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The second running of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the track’s road course is set for May 7-9, while the prestigious Freedom 100 is scheduled for Friday, May 22. Belardi Auto Racing was victorious in the marquee event in 2014 and they are planning to repeat the success this season with one of their two talented pilots.

Felix Serralles - #4
Qualified: Seventh – 1:13.570 (+1.183 secs)
Race 1: Sixth
Race 2: Fourth

Driver Quote
: “Barber was tough weekend. We had a lot of issues with the car and we had to switch engines between practice one and practice two on Friday. In qualifying, we still had engines issues with the second engine and didn't fix it until after the qualifying. And we struggled a bit finding the car, but in Race Two we made a great recovery race. We started P9 and finished P4, we were really close to Max (Chilton), and I tried to make a move but we were too close in pace, which made an official move very difficult. The team did a great job in working and fixing the issues and I'm really proud of them because they were able to change the engine in such a short amount of time. I am hoping that Indianapolis will be better for us, as we do have a lot of testing before the weekend in case we have any issues.”

Juan Piedrahita - #5
Qualified: 10th – 1:13.948 (+1.562)
Race 1: Seventh
Race 2: Eighth

Driver Quote
: “We had another tough weekend. I can only thank all the guys at Belardi for their hard work. We had gearbox/differential issues and they worked really hard to fix everything. We are improving and hopefully we can be running in the front at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.”

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 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 and the Pocono 100.
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