Official test day provides positive momentum for prestigious event
BROWNSBURG, IN (May 24, 2017) – The Freedom 100 is the single most prestigious event on the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires calendar, positioned as part of the famed ‘Carb Day’ at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Indianapolis 500 weekend. Belardi Auto Racing has visited victory lane at IMS on two occasions, with Peter Dempsey in 2013 and Gabby Chaves in 2014, and the team is dedicated to scoring their third victory this coming Friday. Aaron Telitz, Shelby Blackstock and Santi Urrutia tested on the 2.5-mile oval on Monday (May 26), with Telitz finishing up second on the overall time chart. The outing was deemed a success, one that will provide the drivers with a positive baseline that they’ll use when hit the track again on Thursday (May 25) for two practice sessions and single-car qualifying.
“There is just something about the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Freedom 100,” offered Belardi Auto Racing owner Brian Belardi. “The track is special and the event is always thrilling. We’ve won it twice, and our crew and our drivers all want to give Belardi Auto Racing its third victory at the Speedway. We tested well and we’re all dedicated to performing to our maximum this week.”
Birchwood, WI’s Telitz finished the Monday test day in second overall, showing the impressive pace that the team enjoyed when they unloaded, which is a positive sign for Thursday and Friday. Blackstock and Urrutia were both in the top-10 as well, but the outright success from a test day such as the outing leading up to the Freedom 100 is more about getting comfortable with the car set-up, the draft and two-wide or three-wide racing. The feedback from all three drivers was extremely encouraging.
Telitz, the reigning Pro Mazda champion, will make his IMS oval debut sporting Mazda’s ‘Soul Red’ livery, although he has had success in oval competition on the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires. Aaron won the ‘Night Before The 500’ event at Lucas Oil Raceway in USF2000 in 2014.
Blackstock has driven on an oval in all three of the MRTI series, finishing third at Lucas Oil Raceway in 2013 and third on the Milwaukee Mile in 2014, both in the Pro Mazda Championship. Shelby finished eighth in his Freedom 100 debut in 2015 and posted an impressive fourth place run last year.
Urrutia’s has three oval starts in MRTI competition, with a fifth in Pro Mazda at Iowa in 2015 standing as his best result. The other two races were DNF’s, including last year’s mechanical failure in his Freedom 100 debut.
Practice and qualifying for this year’s Freedom 100 take place on Thursday, May 25 on the 2.5-mile oval. The drivers will take to the track with two 30-minute sessions at 9:00 am EDT and 11:00 an EDT ahead of single car qualifying at 1:30 pm EST. The race will take place on Friday, May 26 at 12:30 pm EST. The race will be aired live on NBCSN and will be broadcast on IndyCarRadio. The race will be streamed online on the Mazda Road to Indy app on a delay until after the event.
BELARDI AUTO RACING – DRIVER INFORMATION
SANTIAGO URRUITA – #5
Hometown: Montevideo, Uruguay
Residence: Miguelete, Uruguay
Sponsors: ARROW Electronics, BSE, ANCAP, Antel, Ministerio de Turismo, AgroLavalle, SuperMatch, Fadisol, SINTEPLAS, Secretaría Nacional de Deporte, BMW MotorHaus
Driver Input: “I am very much ready for the Freedom 100, it is the biggest race of the year. I believe that it will be important for us to unload a good car from the hauler on Thursday, so that we can work on it and improve on it. We need a really good car so that I can be right at the top to get the crucial points we need for the championship.”
AARON TELITZ – #9
Hometown: Birchwood, WI
Residence: Minneapolis, MN
Sponsors: Mazda, Rice Lake Weighing Systems, Rising Star Racing, Morrie’s Chippewa Valley Mazda, Fred Thomas Resort, Cooper Tires, Bell Helmets, Sparco, Team USA Scholarship
Driver Input: “I won my first MRTI race on an oval in Indy, so I can’t wait for my first Indy Lights race on an oval. And not just any oval, but IMS! The Belardi guys have had lots of success here in the past so we have a lot to live up to this week. But I know that we are going to be fast and can hopefully be the first team to bring the Soul Red Mazda to victory lane in the Freedom 100.”
SHELBY BLACKSTOCK – #51
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Residence: Charlotte, NC
Sponsors: Starstruck, Sparco, AMPED Apparel/Optics, Arai Helmets
Driver Input: “I’m really looking forward to our biggest race of the year, the Freedom 100! It’s by far the best race and the one I look forward to the most. Testing has been going good so far, so I’m excited to get back out there and trim more. I want to thank the entire Belardi Auto Racing team for giving us a great starting car.”
Series: Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires
Event: Round #7 – Freedom 100
Date: May 25-26, 2017
WEEKEND SCHEDULE (all times Eastern Time Zone):
Thursday, May 25
- Practice 1: 9:00 am – 9:30 am
- Practice 2: 11:00 am – 11:30 am
- Qualifying: 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Friday, May 25
- Race 2: 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm