antiago Urrutia doesn’t need to dig
too deep in search of motivation this
year. The Argentinean driver heads
into his second Indy Lights Presented by
Cooper Tires season chasing the same
giant carrot as his rivals: the scholarship
toward a Verizon IndyCar Series drive
that’s awarded to the champion.
He’ll be reminded of what’s at stake
every time he looks at the track during an
IndyCar session and sees 2016 Lights
champ Ed Jones drive past in the No. 19
Dale Coyne Racing entry. If it’s a road or
street race, he’ll also spot Spencer Pigot in
the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing car. For a
young driver on the edge of the big time,
there’s no prize in racing more valuable.
But for Urrutia, the lure is even
stronger. Jones won last year’s
championship on the final lap of the final
race – and Urrutia had the unfortunate
distinction of being on the other side of
that equation. He’s moved from Schmidt
Peterson Motorsports to Belardi for the
upcoming season, and says that his aims
for 2017 are very simple.
“I have only one goal, and that is to win
the championship, and I’m going to try to
win every race for the team,” he says. “If I
can’t win, I’ll be aiming for seconds and
thirds – whatever I need to win the title.
What happened at Mazda Raceway
Laguna Seca in the finale is now in the
past, and I’m looking at the future.”
But it takes more than fighting words
to win a championship, and Urrutia is
acutely aware that he’s in for a battle.
Two-time 2016 race winner Kyle Kaiser
will be returning with Juncos, while the
rookie ranks include 2015 USF2000
champion Nico Jamin, Pro Mazda
champion Aaron Telitz, and second-
generation racer Colton Herta.
STEPPING IT UP
Whether it’s Santiago Urrutia’s quest for redemption or Colton Herta’s
aim to add to a family legacy, Indy Lights is rich with subplots in 2017.
P h o t o Santiago Urrutia (LEFT and ABOVE,
No. 55) was right in
the Indy Lights hunt
last year and will be
bang in the thick of it
again in 2017 –
although he’ll have a
crop of fast rookies,
such as Colton Herta
(ABOVE RIGHT), to
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