Aaron Telitz, Belardi Set for 2018 Encore

By Aaron Bearden, Contributing Writer

After bookending the 2017 Indy Lights season with victories at St. Petersburg and Watkins Glen International, Aaron Telitz and Belardi Auto Racing are set to give the tour another go.

Belardi announced on Thursday that Telitz, 26, will return to the organization for his second Indy Lights season in 2018. The team intends to complete the full 17-race schedule, though they currently have only a partial budget prepared for the coming year.

“I’m incredibly excited about how our team is developing for 2018, and being able to run Aaron again next year is such a huge positive for our organization,” team owner Brian Belardi said in a release. “As a rookie last year, he showed us his talents immediately, winning the opener at St. Petersburg.

“As he continued to develop in the car, he became even more impressive. I believe that his performance in the rain at Watkins Glen is a real indication of just how good Aaron is and how good he could become. We’re thrilled to have him back.”

Telitz arrived in the Indy Lights paddock in 2017 courtesy of a scholarship earned with a championship in the 2016 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. Driving the Soul Red Mazda Scholarship car, Telitz put together a strong 2017 campaign to finish sixth in the standings.

The Wisconsinite tallied two wins and four podiums on the 16-race tour, with a lone DNF at Gateway Motorsports Park. A combined 10 victories throughout his career in the Mazda Road to Indy, Telitz scored two wins during 2015 in USF2000 before amassing six victories en route to the Pro Mazda title the following season.

“It’s a great feeling to be coming back with Belardi Auto Racing to have another go at the Indy Lights Championship,” Telitz said. “This will be the first time in my career that I get to drive for the same team in back-to-back years. The continuity is already there and we will be a force from the drop of the green flag at St. Pete.”

As hinted at in the release, the lone thing that could keep Telitz from chasing an Indy Lights title is his budget.

“As always, funding could be a limiting factor for me this season as I will be working to finish out my budget throughout the season,” Telitz said. “Brian has been gracious enough to work with me and figure out how we can make it work this year.

“I want to offer a massive thanks to my long-time partner Rice Lake Weighing Systems, who have been with me since Formula Fords and continue to ensure my racing career is able to flourish. Also thanks to Morrie’s Auto Group, PPG, Assured Automotive, Styled Aesthetic, Liberty Engineering, and Bell Helmets, who are all on-board to assist in my run at the championship in 2018. I know that we will have our work cut out for us, but I’m confident that we can get the job done and bring the Driver Championship back to Belardi in 2018.”

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Aaron Bearden is a Contributing Writer for Motorsports Tribune, handling coverage of both the Verizon IndyCar Series and ABB FIA Formula E Championship. A native Hoosier, Bearden has attended races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since he was three years old. He can be found on social media at @AaronBearden93.