Sitting tied for second in the standings with two races remaining, Santi Urrutia knows every point is valuable as he chases the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires title. By leading tonight’s practice at Gateway Motorsports Park, the Uruguayan has positioned himself to keep his championship hopes alive.

Urrutia paced the lone Indy Lights session of the day with a fast lap of 162.438 mph (27.703 seconds) on the 1.25-mile oval It was nearly 3 mph faster than the Indy Lights lap record of 159.721 set by Townsend Bell in 2000, though track records may only be set in qualifying or a race.

Urrutia was pleased but made sure not to get ahead of himself.

“I think the car is OK,” the Belardi Auto Racing driver said. “We did a good job when we tested here. The car was good, and as soon as we unloaded the car here it was good again, so I think we have a good car. It was good in racing (conditions) running in traffic, it was good running by myself in qualifying (simulation) without a tow, so I think we have a good car.”

Currently 42 points behind championship leader Kyle Kaiser of Juncos Racing, Urrutia is keen to score max points in qualifying and the race on Saturday.

“The important day is tomorrow,” said the 2015 Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires champion. “We have to put the car on pole and then win the race. That’s all I (can) do to keep the championship alive. I think the Belardi guys did a great job. The car is quick, so I hope tomorrow we have the same speed.”