Aaron Telitz steady rise through the racing world
He may not be going fast enough to make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, but Aaron Telitz has made a living out of driving cars at ridiculous speeds.
The 25-year-old Wisconsin native began his racing career like most drivers by with go-karts when he was a young boy. However, what started off as a hobby quickly developed into a love for racing.
“When I was younger my older brother Ted was racing go-karts at John Menard’s go-kart track in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and I wanted to do that as well,” Telitz said. “I never really took it super seriously as it was really just a fun thing we did together on the weekend as a family. As I went along and got better at racing, I went to bigger go-karting events it got a little more serious.”
Telitz began racing go-karts nationally when he was 14 he had accumulated accolades from around the country including five wins at the K.A.R.T (Karters of America Racing Triad) National Championships, two wins WKA (World Karting Association) Daytona World Championships, and two wins at the WKA Mid-Ohio National Championships.
When he was 20 he got his first opportunity in racing cars. He received a $20,000 scholarship after winning the Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Shootout and used his scholarship money to race in the 2012 Skip Barber Summer Series. Out of the 12 races he competed in he had four wins and an additional four podiums.
Telitz continued to rise through the racing world and after deciding to take the year off from college so he could focus on racing, he won a $10,000 scholarship at the Skip Barber Champion Shootout at Road Atlanta. He continued to compete in Skip Barber championships and continued to win scholarship money. His success brought him an opportunity to join the ranks of rising drivers looking to one day compete in IndyCar and in 2014 started his career in the USF2000 series.
2016 was a breakout year for Telitz. After two years in the USF2000 series, he dominated the second half of the Pro Mazda series winning five of the remaining nine races en route to a championship season. The championship gave Telitz an opportunity to compete in Indy Lights in 2017 and is now one series away from completing his dream of running in IndyCar.
“The biggest step I’ve had in racing so far is going from Pro Mazda to Indy Lights,” Telitz says. “The cars are so much faster and everyone is so much more competitive. At the lower levels you’ve got guys that are more wishy-washy and are just there for fun. Indy Lights is very serious and much tougher. It’s been a big challenge but so far it’s been going alright.”
Telitz rise through the racing world is not something he probably expected when he was just a child. A native of northern Wisconsin, Telitz grew up on a fishing resort and had his fair shares of what some would call “odd jobs”. When he was eight Telitz and his brother would clean the fish for guests did not want to clean and they were paid anywhere from 25 cents to four dollars depending on the size of the fish. This is something Telitz still does to this day whenever he is back home.
“It’s a family fishing resort so my mom and my grandpa before that would clean fish and they ran it,” Telitz said. “When guests didn’t want to clean their fish she would do that and it carried over to me and my brother. It was pretty good money. I could clean fish very quickly because obviously time was money. The quicker you do it the more money you got.”
Wisconsin may not be the first place that comes to mind for fans of racing but this is where Telitz got his career started and where he honed his skills. It may not be renown for its racing scene, but Telitz feels that Wisconsin is one of the best places in the country for racing.
“In my neck of the woods way up north, we have a lot of dirt tracks and racing is very popular,” Telitz said. “With Road America down in Elkhart Lake, it’s really a great state for racing. There are ton of fans that want to go there for racing with it being such a cool track and the town is just an awesome racing town. Wisconsin loves racing.”
When he’s not on a track racing or filleting fish, Telitz enjoys living life to the fullest whether it is snowboarding, golfing or just working a country club in Minneapolis. If he’s looking for some down time, you may find Telitz binging on his favorite movie series, Star Wars. His love for the franchise began at a young age and has since stayed. In his driver profile online, Telitz states that the one talent he wishes he had are Jedi Powers.
“It’s just such a great story of good versus evil with cool villains and great heroes,” Telitz says. “My favorite movies are the original trilogy but I really like the ones that have come out recently as well. It’s been a family thing as my family is kind of nerdy so we’ve always enjoyed that kind of stuff.”