WATKINS GLEN, New York – After sprightly battles with Colton Herta and Santi Urrutia in the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires season’s wet finale at Watkins Glen International, Aaron Telitz claimed his second win of the season while Juncos Racing’s Kyle Kaiser finished seventh to wrap up the series championship.
“It was a little bit treacherous out there at times,” Telitz said of the tricky conditions throughout the 25-lap race. “The start of the race was a little bit hairy. Knew my car was awesome, Santi’s car was awesome, too. The Belardi Auto Racing guys gave both of us such an awesome car today.”
Urrutia came home second with Herta third, the same positions they take in the final championship standings. The result also locked up the team championship for Belardi to cap another strong season.
“The Belardi Auto Racing guys worked so hard all year,” Telitz added. “Even when we had our struggles, we just kept working through it. The second half of the year we came on strong, and even though the results haven’t been there for me the whole time, it’s great to obviously get a couple of wins my rookie year. First race (of the season), last race, that’s not too bad.”
Entering with a 31-point lead on Urrutia, Kaiser simply needed to start the race to clinch the championship. Though the seventh-place finish seemed underwhelming, it was enough to confirm the Californian’s candidacy for a Verizon IndyCar Series ride in 2018.
“It feels so surreal right now,” Kaiser said. “After that performance, I don’t feel like celebrating, to be honest, but I’m over the moon right now. This is amazing.”
With the Mazda scholarship of $1 million, Kaiser will be entered in at least three Verizon IndyCar Series events in 2018, including the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
“It’s been a crazy year,” he added. “We had a lot of highs, we had some lows later in the season, but we got the job done when the job needed to get done. I’m excited and now I’m going to start planning for next year.”
The championship comes in Kaiser’s fourth Mazda Road to Indy season with Juncos Racing, which became the first team to win championships in multiple rungs of the development ladder in the same season.
“They’ve done amazing, absolutely amazing,” Kaiser said after Victor Franzoni claimed the Pro Mazda championship earlier in the day for Juncos. “I’ve been with them for four years now, started off with them in Pro Mazda, and they’ve totally developed me into the driver I am, and made me a champion. Not enough nice things to say about Juncos.”