Aaron Telitz: Paws and Podiums

Written by Team USA. Posted in Aaron Telitz, Driver Blogs, Feature

Published on May 14, 2015 with No Comments

Mounds View, Minn. – Welcome back, readers! Boy, have I got a good one for you this time around.

This past weekend was the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway! I was ready to keep the ball rolling from the momentum gained from my win in Alabama.

With Indianapolis being relatively close to where I live (nine hours), I decided to have a little road trip in my 1996 BMW 328is (Sorry, Mazda. The darn thing has 291,000 miles and still won’t die. I pinky-promise to get a Mazda when it does.) Sadly, on the way down my poor old car’s blower fan went out meaning that the ever needed air-conditioning was no longer being delivered into my face to keep me cool! The beginning of a hot and sweaty weekend was already underway.

Kelly and her “cat.”

On top of driving to Indianapolis I decided to save a little bit more money by staying at Garfield’s house (or Kelly Brouillet’s house). The reason why I say it is Garfield’s house is because Kelly’s cat is a real life adaptation of Garfield. If you don’t believe me just take a gander at this photo (RIGHT).

After settling in on my air mattress I got a good night’s sleep and was ready to get out for practice the following day.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway is extremely famous for a lot of reasons. Upon trying to enter the Speedway you quickly come face to face with one (or one million) of those reasons. Yes, I’m talking about the “Yellow Shirts.” Yellow Shirts are the workers inside of the Speedway. They can be compared to the goblins that guard “Gringotts Bank” in Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter series in that there is no possible way you are getting into the Speedway unless you have exactly the right credentials or you happen to have access to a “Polyjuice Potion” and the use of the “Imperius Curse.”

Once navigating past the infamous Yellow Shirts I made it into the paddock and got ready for the first test session!

As much as I hate being generic and sounding like basically every single race car driver in the world, rolling out onto pit lane at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is seriously way cool. The sound reverberating off the valley of grandstands is unlike anywhere else I’ve ever raced!

The Grand Prix track only uses the front straight and the short chute in between Turns One and Two, albeit running in the opposite direction to the oval. The rest of the track is through the infield of the Speedway. It is a fabulous layout. There are very good passing zones connected by great flowing sections. The Wednesday test sessions went as good as could be hoped for. My #3 Rice Lake Weighing Systems car was on-point right from the off and I set the fastest lap of the final test session.

After a pleasant night of cuddling with the world’s largest cat on my air mattress I was ready for some more testing. The great part about the Grand Prix of Indianapolis is the amount of track time that is offered for the entire Mazda Road to Indy. We had two sessions on Wednesday and then two more on Thursday. I followed a similar pattern on Thursday as I went on to post the fastest time in the final session!

On Friday I was ready to rock and roll for our morning qualifying session. Sadly, my day of bad luck was just warming up. After my team bolted on new Cooper Tires near the end of the session a red flag came out on my out-lap. When the session went green again I was only able to get one flying lap in which only improved my time a small margin and put me second on the grid. I wasn’t too down about this because I knew that there would be some good overtaking opportunities during the race.

How NOT to act on a podium (sorry)!

When the green flag fell for Race One we only made it through Turn Two when a full-course yellow came out. I restarted from second and had a great run into the first corner and made an outside pass stick to take over the lead! Over the next 10 laps or so I stretched out a 4.5-second lead and was cruising toward my second victory of the year. Then, just like a NASCAR race, out of the blue another full-course caution comes out with four laps remaining. I knew this wasn’t going to end well for me because of how long the front straight is and how much draft there is. On the first restart Nico (Jamin) fell from first to third. I tried my best to bring the field slowly onto the front straight and get a good jump. But by the time I was halfway down the straight I was already being attacked on both sides from Nico and Jake (Eidson). We all went super-deep into the brake zone in Turn One and I slid wide onto the grass and fell back to fifth. In the next couple laps I worked my way back up to third and that’s how it finished. I was definitely not the happiest camper after the race which was captured by all of the podium photos. (I apologize for being a grumpy Gus!)

OK, that’s better. Two podiums at Indy. Cool!

The best thing you can do after a rough day is get right back at it as soon as possible! Luckily for me we had Race Two on Saturday morning. Again I had a good start challenging for the lead in Turn One. Jake went pretty deep and ran wide in Turn One and as I was going around on the outside in Turn Two we made contact and his front wing got ripped off and I was left with a small alignment problem in the left rear. I drove hard and brought it home second!

As much as I would have liked to get that win on Friday it was honestly a great weekend. Two podiums at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is never something to complain about!

Up next is the “Freedom 75” – or what used to be know as the “Night Before the 500″ – at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. I am looking forward to defending my title!

A giant thanks goes out to Rice Lake Weighing Systems, Mazda, Cooper Tires, Team USA Scholarship and SAFEisFAST! You guys all allow me to go out and chase after my dream.

As always thank you to all of my readers!
You guys rock,

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