Lexington, Ohio – As the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda begins its stretch run this weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, with just five races left to contest, Belardi Auto Racing’s drivers remain focused on their personal goals of skill development and on-track success. Canadian pilot Daniel Burkett and Dutch driver Jeroen Slaghekke are currently in Mid-Ohio coming off solid finishes at the last series event, which took place north of the border in Toronto just two weeks ago. Both drivers capped the wet weekend in Canada with top-10 finishes in the second of the two races, which was run in dry conditions, where Burkett showed his speed by turning the second quickest lap of the race. Pre-event testing was successful, and both drivers expect to use this knowledge and their own past experience at the track to challenge for podiums and race wins during this weekend’s unique tripleheader format.
Burkett’s consistency in Toronto has provided him with confidence and momentum coming into Mid-Ohio, where he has enjoyed success running in other open wheel events this year. The flowing nature of the track plays to Burkett’s skill set and after running well in the official series test in June, he is anxious to get on-track and begin the challenge. The Canadian currently sits eighth in series points, just 38 markers outside the top-five.
“Mid-Ohio is going to be interesting for me,” Burkett admitted. “The current points situation from 5th to 10th is very tight. With three races taking place, it'll certainly be an important weekend. I struggled a bit in testing here, but after an extra weekend in an Atlantic car, I'm feeling confident. One thing I know for sure is that Belardi will provide me a great car, as always."
Slaghekke has shown great pace all year, but encountered issues early in the year before joining the Belardi Auto Racing squad for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis in mid-May. Changing weather and radical strategy calls resulted in jumbled results in both races at IMS, where Slaghekke posted a pair of top-15 finishes. The sophomore pilot bounced back strongly just two weeks later, gelling with his team and exceling on the banked Lucas Oil Raceway during the ‘Night Before The 500’ event, giving Belardi its best result with an impressive fourth. Jeroen’s workhorse effort in Toronto that was capped with a ninth place result showed his grit and perseverance. The 22-year-old comes to Mid-Ohio looking for a breakout event that will exemplify the speed he has been able to show this season.
“I’m really looking forward to this weekend,” offered Slaghekke. “We've been very strong here in the collective testing and I believe we can get some very good results this weekend if we keep working hard!”
About Belardi Auto Racing:
Belardi Auto Racing is an organization comprised of experienced individuals in the racing industry with an aggressive growth strategy and a strong commitment to finishing up front. No stranger to winning, team members having been achieving success in both the amateur and pro ranks for over a decade, winning numerous junior formula car races and championships. Based in Brownsburg, Ind., Belardi Auto Racing contests multi-car efforts in both the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda series. Goal-oriented and focused on developing the next stars of motorsports, Belardi Auto Racing won in both the Indy Lights and USF2000 Championships in 2013.