Aaron Telitz talkes turn at Watkins Glen
Aaron Telitz led 23 of 25 laps en route to victory at Watkins Glen. | Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

The forecast of wet weather at Watkins Glen came into full force for the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires drivers who had to contend with a wet race with Aaron Telitz leading all but two laps to win the season-ending round while Kyle Kaiser cemented the series championship.

Starting from pole, Colton Herta stayed out front through Turn 1 with a challenge from Telitz who started third. The two swapped the lead until Santi Urrutia, the second-placed starter, made it a three-way battle at the front of the field.

Colton Herta on grid at Watkins Glen
Colton Herta started from pole in the season-ending Indy Lights race at Watkins Glen. | Photo: Ben Hinc / The Apex

The three eventually lined up with Telitz ahead of Urrutia and Herta until the driver of the No. 5 Belardi Auto Racing Mazda missed the bus stop chicane, allowing Herta to move into the second position.

While out front, Telitz consistently turned the fastest lap of the race while Herta and Urrutia jostled for the second position behind him.

After 10 completed laps, Telitz led Urrutia by 5.8 seconds although the Uruguayan driver started cutting into his teammate’s advantage, reducing the gap to 3.5 seconds just ahead of a yellow flag.

Dalton Kellett made contact with the Armco barrier at the exit of the bus stop, damaging the rear end of the No. 28 Andretti Autosport machine.

During the yellow flag, Shelby Blackstock’s No. 51 Belardi machine stopped on track and had to be towed back to pit lane, extending the caution period.

The extra time without high-speed action allowed standing water to accumulate on the track, prompting series officials to throw a red flag that stopped the 60-minute race clock with just over 18 minutes to go.

Aaron Telitz on grid at Watkins Glen
Aaron Telitz started third and finished first in the final Indy Lights race of 2017 at Watkins Glen. | Photo: Ben Hinc / The Apex

The race went back to yellow-flag conditions and the green flag flew with seven laps to go. Through to the checkered flag, Urrutia continued to chase Telitz for the lead. While the teammates came close, Telitz charged to the checkered flag and won the race by 2.2 seconds over Urrutia.

The win was Telitz’s second of 2017. He also visited victory lane in the first race of the season-opening doubleheader at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Urrutia’s finish in the second position guaranteed him second place in the final driver standings with a 20-point gap to championship winner Kaiser.

Herta held on to finish third in the No. 98 Andretti Steinbrenner Racing Mazda followed by Matheus Leist in fourth and Nico Jamin in fifth.

Zachary Claman De Melo finished in the sixth position just ahead of Kaiser whose seventh-placed finish gave him 330 points to end the season on top of the championship. The Juncos Racing driver had already clinched the championship by starting the race.

Kyle Kaiser speeds through Watkins Glen turn
Kyle Kaiser ended the season with 330 points to win the 2017 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper TIres championship. | Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Nicolas Dapero, Juan Piedrahita and Ryan Norman completed the top 10.

With the series done for the year, the offseason begins leading to the 2018 opener on the streets of St. Petersburg on the weekend of March 7–9.

Comment here...