ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Zach Veach dominated today’s Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires race at Road America to take his first Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tire win in nearly two years and giving team owner Brian Belardi a win in his home state.
Starting from the pole position, Veach broke away at the green flag in the No. 5 Belardi Auto Racing Dallara IL-15 and built a massive gap until a full-course yellow flew on Lap 8 for Dalton Kellett’s spin in Canada Corner. On the restart, Veach pulled away again and drove off to victory by nearly 3 seconds over Dean Stoneman in the No. 27 Stellrecht Andretti Autosport entry. Stoneman was penalized an additional 5 seconds for contact during the race but retained second place.
Veach breathed a sigh of relief in Victory Lane after scoring his first win since The Milwaukee Mile in 2014 and give Belardi Auto Racing their first win together. Veach sat out the entire 2015 Indy Lights season.
“I’m relieved!” said Veach. “After the year that we had in 2014, we knew we could win races – but not in this new Indy Lights car (that debuted in 2015). I’m just so thankful for Belardi Auto Racing, Mazda and Cooper tires to for just allowing us to come out here and have this opportunity. I’m just so thankful that I can give back to them as they have given back to me.”
Team owner Brian Belardi, from Grafton, Wis., shared the same sentiment. Winning in his home state made it even sweeter.
“It was such a big win for the team; we were so close so many times this year already,” Belardi said. “It's a great feeling for the team. Everybody works so hard on this team. We're a smaller team, so it's always a battle, but we're finally here again.
“This is huge for me,” Belardi added. “I've come here for 46 years now. It was big, to do it in Wisconsin is great.”
Felix Seralles, in the No. 4 SS Tire entry for Carlin Racing, finished third to propel him from fifth to third in the championship, 42 points out of the lead. With a fourth-place finish, Ed Jones (No. 11 Jebel Ali Resorts and Hotels/Carlin) maintained the points lead with a 23-point advantage over Stoneman heading into Sunday’s second race of the weekend on the 4.0140-mile Road America circuit (9:45 a.m. ET, RaceControl.IndyCar.com).
Telitz has sweet homecoming with Pro Mazda sweep
Aaron Telitz dominated this weekend’s Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires doubleheader in front of a hometown crowd.
The Rice Lake, Wis., native, driving the No. 82 Rice Lake Weighting Systems entry for Team Pelfrey, started from pole in both races and that proved to be at his advantage. The 24-year-old broke away from the field heading into the first corner both times and led every lap of the two races.
Nicolas Dapero (No. 31 Federal Seguros/American Brocker/S.O.S for Juncos Racing) finished second in the first race and Nico Jamin (No. 2 Mazda/Synova Automotive Eco-Plastics/Haexgon for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) was runner-up in the second race.
For Telitz, a wins in front of the hometown crowd were especially rewarding.
“This probably was the most important race for me this year personally,” said Telitz. “I’ve got a lot of history here at Road America. I raced go-karts here, Skip Barber cars, my first win in a car came her. Love the track, I think it’s incredible, love the town and to have all of my friends and family and supporters is just the icing on the cake.”
“The first race, the car wasn’t handling as well as I would have liked it to handle, so we weren’t as fast,” he added. “We made quite a bit of changes and we just happened to nail it.”
Points leader Pato O’Ward, Telitz’s teammate, saw his lead over Telitz halved to 28 after nine of 16 races. The driver of the No. 80 Gap Guard Team Pelfrey entry come home with a pair of fourth-place finishes on the day, the first times O’Ward did not finish inside the top two this season.
Martin sweeps USF2000 races
Anthony Martin came away with a clean sweep of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda doubleheader today at Road America.
Driving the No. 8 Burgess BLA entry for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, Martin led an Australian podium sweep in the first race, followed to the finish by Jordan Lloyd driving of Wisconsin-based Pabst Racing and Luke Gabin from JAY Motorsports entry.
In the second race, Martin thwarted Lloyd and Arms Up Motorsports’ Victor Franzoni at the start and pulled away. Franzoni wound up finishing second with Parker Thompson, Martin’s teammate at Cape, third. Ayla Agren, in the No. 33 Energima entry for John Cummiskey Racing, claimed a season-best fourth-place finish.
Martin and Thompson both have scored 271 points after nine of 16 races, but Martin holds the championship lead by virtue of his four race wins to Thompson’s three.