USAC star Chad Boat expands driver trio to quartet for high-speed oval contest
BROWNSBURG, IN (August 23, 2017) – As announced earlier this season, the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires driver line-up at Belardi Auto Racing will expand to four for this weekend’s 75-lap race at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, IL. The team’s season-long trio of Aaron Telitz, Shelby Blackstock and Santi Urrutia will be joined by full-time USAC Midget driver Chad Boat for the Friday–Saturday show, which will feature with the Indy Lights Mazda St. Louis Oval Challenge Presented by Cooper Tires on Saturday at 6:00 pm Central.
“We’re excited Chad will finally be able to join our stout stable of drivers,” offered Brian Belardi, Team Owner. “As you know, he was unable to race in Iowa due to medical reasons, so to have four cars up and running is a great sight. We tested here a couple weeks ago and everyone was fast and comfortable. Look for us on top of the scoring pylon this weekend.”
Gateway Motorsports Park is a unique track for the Indy Lights series, as it was added to this year’s schedule of races as the third oval event for the drivers at the top rung of the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires. The track measures out at 1.25 miles and the turns are banked between 9º-10º. The front and back stretches flatten out to the small banking between the turns at just 3º, which will present a significant challenge for the drivers. The Mazda-powered Dallara IL-15s in the Indy Lights series are expected to reach top speeds of over 165 mph during qualifying.
The team tested on the challenging and physically demanding oval two weeks ago, hitting the track on Thursday, August 10. The team’s progress during the test was extremely positive and the drivers are primed and ready to battle for the win in the 15thevent of the 16-race schedule.
Miguelete, Uruguay’s Santiago Urrutia is coming off strong weekend at the Mid-Ohio doubleheader in late July. The Uruguayan was able to win the Saturday opener, his first of the year, and came home with a strong second in the longer Sunday race. This was huge for Santi’s momentum and confidence, as it advanced him in the championship point battle, as he now sits tied for second overall. The 20-year-old has showed speed on the ovals this year, finishing fifth in the Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis 500 before advancing to an impressive second at Iowa in Indy Lights race in July. Urrutia has momentum going into this race and is poised to gain much needed points in his effort to win the 2017 championship.
Minneapolis, MN’s Aaron Telitz has had an up-and-down year, however in Mid-Ohio, he was able to make big gains duringSunday’s race, and in May fought for the lead in the Freedom 100. These successes bode well for Aaron this weekend. As the 2016 Pro Mazda Champion who competes in Indy Lights with the Mazda scholarship, Aaron sports the prestigious Soul Red Mazda colors on his Dallara IL-15 and with two ovals under his belt this season, he’s ready for some high-speed wheel-to-wheel action. The 25-year-old was very pleased with the results of the test and he is focused on continuing the pace that he displayed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Charlotte, NC’s Shelby Blackstock currently sits ninth in the championship standings and is coming off an extremely strong outing at Mid-Ohio. Shelby raced hard and was rewarded with a pair of top-four finishes, highlighted by a third in Race #2 that came after some thrilling wheel-to-wheel action. Blackstock has enjoyed a consistent year with nine top-10 finishes in the 14 races, and with a top career Indy Lights oval result of fourth in the 2016 Freedom 100, he’ll be aiming for the podium this weekend.
Belardi Auto Racing welcomes Cornelius, NC’s Chad Boat to the team for the Gateway event. The 25-year-old is a full-time USAC Midget driver, and will be adding one Indy Lights race to his already-stacked 31-race schedule. He currently sits seventh on the National Midget Series standings. Boat competed in a total of 14 events on the 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series as well, finished 22nd at Iowa Speedway that year. Boat’s performance at last week’s test was impressive, and he is excited about this new opportunity.
The weekend schedule for this year’s Indy Lights Mazda St. Louis Oval Challenge Presented by Cooper Tire at Gateway Motorsports Park will begin with a 45-minute practice session on Friday, August 25 at 7:45 pm CT. Saturday will consist of a single-car, two-lap qualifying session at 1:45 pm CT and the race will be run at 6:00 pm CT ahead of the Verizon IndyCar Series Bommarito Automotive Group 500. The race will be broadcast live on the Road to Indy TV app, IndyLights.com and theIndyCar.com Race Control page with audio provided by IndyCar Radio. It also airs on NBCSN on August 28, 12:00 pm ET.
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 feel the test went very well at Gateway, I drove it to the edge to get everything out of my car. I’m going into the race with confidence, ready to win, and then head to Watkins Glen winning there too, to win 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: “We had a great team test here at Gateway last week. The cars are working really well in race trim. We’ll use practice to dial in qualifying setup and then go for pole!”
SHELBY BLACKSTOCK – #51
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Residence: Charlotte, NC
Sponsors: Starstruck, Sparco, AMPED Apparel/Optics, Arai Helmets
Driver Input: “The recent test at Gateway Motorsports Park went great for the Belardi Auto Racing team! The car was very quick over the run and good in traffic! I’m really looking forward to getting back there on the 25th.”
CHAD BOAT – #84
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Residence: Cornelius, NC
Sponsors: Pristine Auction, K&C Drywall
Driver Input: “I am looking forward to my first Indy Lights race and using what I learned at the test to have the best possible race weekend. The repave at Gateway has made the track very smooth, so it should make for some great racing. I know the Belardi Auto Racing team will have a great car prepared for the event. None of this would be possible without Pristine Auction and all of our sponsors.”