Salinas, CA – September 11, 2016 – Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM) Indy Lights driver Santiago Urrutia finished in second place on Sunday afternoon during the second race of a double-header season finale weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The second-place finish put the Uruguayan driver in the runner-up spot by two points for the 2016 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires championship.
Urrutia started Sunday’s race on the inside of row two and was able to gain one spot on the first lap just before a full-course yellow was issued. He maintained position for the entire race and was on track to win the championship in a tie-breaker based on his four Indy Lights victories in 2016.
On the last lap of the race, Carlin Racing teammates swapped track positions, giving points leader Ed Jones the two points he needed to clinch the title.
“As a driver and as a team, we did our best and gave one-hundred percent all season,” said Urrutia. “We made some mistakes but we won races, podiums, pole positions, top fives… we had a great season. We didn’t close it and didn’t win the championship but it is what it is and I’ll focus on getting the sponsorship to race again next year for a second chance.
“As a rookie, I think I did a good job and the team helped me a lot. Only two drivers had the chance to win the championship on the last race and I was one of those drivers. I don’t have a lot of words to say but thank you to Mazda, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and everyone who helped me to race this year. It was a great year and I’m pretty sure that next year we’re going to win this championship.”
Teammate Andre Negrao, in the No. 17 car, started in eighth and advanced two places on the first lap of the 38-lap competition to give him his sixth-place finishing spot.
Heamin Choi, piloting SPM’s third entry, started fourteenth and finished twelfth on the 3.4-mile, 11-turn road course.
On Saturday, the Indy Lights drivers qualified only hours before the first race of the double-header weekend. Urrutia, who went into the weekend leading the points race by one point, qualified third. Negrao started on the inside of row five (ninth) and Choi on the inside of row seven (thirteenth).
Urrutia was shuffled back several positions during the first lap to the fifth spot, where he would remain for the entire 30-lap race. Negrao held on to his ninth-place spot from the green flag to the checkered. Choi spun on the first lap and stalled, giving up his starting spot. The Korean driver was able to get the No. 77 car restarted without causing a full-course yellow, but would finish one lap down in fifteenth.