LEEDS, Ala. – Less than 24 hours after making contact at the first corner and compromising their races, Belardi Auto Racing teammates Gabby Chaves and Alex Baron bounced back with an impressive 1-2 finish in today’s second round of the Legacy Indy Lights 100 at Barber Motorsports Park.
Yesterday’s winner Zach Veach had to be content with a third-place finish, which allowed Chaves to close within nine points of the championship lead after four rounds of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires.
Chaves, who won round two at Long Beach two weeks ago, knew he needed a strong result to keep his title rival within reach. He gave himself a good opportunity to do so after securing his second pole of the year – by virtue of posting the second fastest lap in yesterday’s lone qualifying session – and took full advantage at the start by leaping clear of fellow front row starter Veach (Andretti Autosport) as the green flags flew.
Even better, young rookie teammate Alex Baron (Liberty Engineering/13th Avenue) anticipated the start perfectly to shadow Chaves’ No. 5 Marca Colombia/Coldeportes car into turn one and make the move into second place.
Colombian-American Chaves quickly made good his escape, increasing his advantage on every one of the first 15 laps and stretching out the margin to over four seconds. Baron, 19, who carries dual French and British citizenship, narrowed the deficit to a little less than 2.5 seconds before Chaves increased his pace again and cruised home to his second victory of the season.
“It was a great way to end the weekend and obviously the best way to come back from a disappointing race one here in Barber,” said Chaves. “It was even more disappointing being that the incident had to be with my teammate. So we talked about it, let the past be the past and said if we want to keep winning races and scoring points, we have to be a team and that’s what we did. Everyone gets along great. I am happy to have this win and a 1-2 for the team.”
The race was actually cut a couple of laps short as rain began to fall, but rookie Baron secured the best result of his young career, while Veach maintained his sequence of podium finishes in third.