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Santiago Urrutia joins Belardi Auto Racing for 2017 Indy Lights season

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2016 Indy Lights championship runner-up Santiago Urrutia will return to the series next year with Belardi Auto Racing.

Urrutia, 20, moved into Indy Lights with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports last year after winning the Pro Mazda title in 2015, having previously plied his trade in Europe.

Urrutia took three race wins en route to second place in the Indy Lights championship in 2016, losing the title on the final lap of the season when Ed Jones made a pass on Carlin teammate Felix Serralles to secure enough points for P1 in the standings.

Belardi Auto Racing confirmed on Friday that Urrutia would be joining the team for the 2017 Indy Lights season, driving the No. 5 Dallara IL-15 alongside Shelby Blackstock.

“We have a really strong crew and I believe that we are going to have one of the greatest teams in the paddock,” Urrutia said.

“I am very happy to sign with Belardi, as I was fighting with the team’s drivers all year in 2016. I have only one goal, and that is to win the championship, and I am going to try to win every race for the team.

“If I can’t win, I’ll be aiming for seconds and thirds, whatever I need to win the title. What happened at Laguna Seca in the finale is now in the past, and I am looking at the future.

“I have to thank all of my fans, my engineer, my sponsors in Uruguay and I want to thank Brian Belardi for believing in me.”

“We’re extremely excited to being adding Santi to our stable of drivers for the 2016 season,” Belardi added.

“We’re coming off a really strong season and our staff is highly motivated to make 2017 even better. Signing a driver of Santi’s caliber will once again put us into the fight for a championship.

“The entire team is fired up with the announcements of Santiago and Shelby and we’re hoping to confirm a third driver early in the new year.”

Recapping the proper Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel rivalry (VIDEO)

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Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).

However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.

However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.

Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.

 

Take a look behind the scenes of Fernando Alonso’s Indy 500 qualifying runs (VIDEO)

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In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth. 

Simulator ride tells what Fernando Alonso can expect in Indianapolis 500 (VIDEO)

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On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.

They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).

Check out the above video.  

Legendary announcer Ken Squier gets you ready for Sunday’s big day of racing (VIDEO)

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Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with Formula 1’s legendary Monaco Grand Prix.

Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The final part of the tripleheader of racing is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the 400-lap, 600-mile Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Newly-named NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).