ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Belardi Auto Racing’s Zach Veach rose to the occasion with just seconds remaining on the clock Friday to claim his first pole of the 2016 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires season. The driver of the No. 5 Mazda IL-15 will lead the 14-car field to the green flag Saturday in the first of two weekend races at the Grand Prix of Road America.
No. 55 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian driver Santiago Urrutia set the early pace in qualifying, battling with Ed Jones in the No. 11 Jebel Ali Resorts and Hotels entry for Carlin Racing. Veach, meanwhile, waited to go for the pole until he had a fresh set of Cooper tires as the session wound down. With 90 seconds to go, he rocketed to P1 with a lap of 1 minute 52.941 seconds (127.946 mph) on the 4.014-mile permanent road course to snatch the pole position.
The Stockdale, Ohio, native said the key to getting the pole was feeling the car out on older tires before making a run on a fresh set while changing his driving style.
“Most of the session, I was trying to figure out where the limits of the whole car were,” Veach said. “I believe that I was about 30 percent over that because we just couldn’t put it together. Finally, on that last set of new tires, I just said, ‘Well, I haven’t tried not pushing yet, so I calmed down and the laps just came to me and the car really dialed in to where I needed it to be.”
Urrutia held on for second with a lap of 1:52.9549 (127.931 mph), with Jones third at 1:52.9627 (127.922 mph). The first Indy Lights race is set for 1 p.m. ET Saturday, with the second race at 9:45 a.m. ET Sunday. Both will stream live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com.
Telitz wins Pro Mazda pole on home track
Wisconsin native Aaron Telitz brought home pole position for the first Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires race of the series’ doubleheader weekend at Road America. And he did it in dominant fashion.
Telitz, in the No. 82 Rice Lake Weighing Systems car for Team Pelfrey, led the trouble-free session from the get-go. His fast lap of 2 minutes, 4.7823 seconds (115.805 mph) was more than a second faster than second-place over Jake Parsons in the No. 00 Smart Mind Institute entry for Juncos Racing.
Points leader Pato O’Ward, who has won six of the first seven Pro Mazda races this season, struggled throughout the session and will start Saturday’s first race from fifth place, the lowest grid position for O’Ward this season.
Pro Mazda will conduct both its weekend races Saturday, 50-minute sessions at 9:55 a.m. and 3:05 p.m. ET.
Martin wins pole in USF2000 qualifying
Anthony Martin’s hopes to close the gap on points leader and Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing teammate Parker Thompson took a turn for the good as he claimed his second pole position of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda season Friday at Road America.
The Australian driver of the No. 8 Burgess BLA car clicked off an impressive flying lap of 2 minutes, 10.779 seconds (110.495 mph) late in the session to top second-place Victor Franzoni of ArmsUp Motorsports (No. 9 Rotary Systems Inc./Novac Sports) by 0.4558 of a second.
Points leader Thompson was third in the No. 2 Weyburn Energy entry, setting up his first start off the front row the season.
USF2000 will conduct both its weekend races Saturday, 40-minute sessions at 9 a.m. and 2:10 p.m. ET.