Edmonton's Rzadzinski to start in the Edmonton Indy Lights races UPDATE The only hitch is that one of Rzadzinski's sponsors has pulled out and he is $15,000 shy of being able to run in both of the races. Edmonton is hosting a doubleheader for Indy Lights July 23 and 24.
07/13/11 Following two days of evaluation on Indiana's Putnam Park road course, Edmonton's Stefan Rzadzinski has been given the go ahead to enter at the upcoming Edmonton Indy® Firestone Indy Lights® double header, July 22-24 at City Centre Airport. In front of his relatives, friends and home crowd, the 18-year-old driver will be racing Davey Hamilton's car number 32 on the new exciting 2.256-mile, 13-turn circuit.
"We are extremely proud of Stefan and very happy to have him now officially on track at our event next week," said promoter François Dumontier, President of Octane Motorsports Events. "When Octane Motorsports Events agreed to take over the promotion of the Edmonton Indy, we made it clear that we wanted to be engaged in the community and of course, on the local racing scene encouraging local talent. When the opportunity was offered to us to sponsor this fantastic young man mentored by Paul Tracy, we immediately agreed to help him secure a ride," added Dumontier.
"What an incredible past few days it has been. Davey Hamilton Racing was great in getting me up to speed and I really learned a lot about the differences in driving style between the very quick Indy Lights car compared to my previous experience in much smaller and slower Skip Barber and Formula Ford cars," said Stefan Rzadzinski once the testing sessions were over. "I'm so happy to be a part of my hometown event. The Edmonton Indy will be an incredible 3-day spectacle, and one I've always dreamed of participating in. Octane is doing a wonderful job in revamping this event, making it without a doubt the most exciting in Western Canada. I invite all Edmontonians to come out, enjoy, and check out the IndyCar race and both Indy Lights races. I can't put into words what it means to be in front of my home crowd to kick off my Indy Lights career. I'm working hard to do them proud and give them a "hometown" driver to cheer for, let's go Edmonton!"
Rzadzinski started competing in karts when he was eight years old. Since then, he has earned victories and championship titles all over Western Canada and has competed in major karting events around the world. He has been invited to test open-wheel Formula BMW and Formula Renault 1.6. In 2009, he entered open-wheel racing in the Ontario Formula Ford Championship where he earned a win, six podiums, two poles, and was named Rookie of the Year. In 2010, Rzadzinski rejoined Ontario Formula Ford Championship and this time, raised his total wins to three, claiming a total of six podiums and three poles and was again the series runner-up. At the end of the year, he entered the Skip Barber Karting Shoot-out and earned a full-season Regional Race Series Scholarship for 2011, where after four races, he was second in the driver standings.
"Stefan is one of the most gifted young drivers that I have seen in all my years in the paddocks," said Anne Roy, General Manager of the Edmonton Indy who has observed numerous young Canadian talents when she was associated with the Atlantic and Champ Car Series. "I've seen Carpentier, Empringham, Moore, Tagliani, Tracy and Villeneuve climbing up the ladder and I am sure that Stefan is made of the same mold. I really hope that Edmontonians will come out and support him as he takes this last step before the major league series," added Ms. Roy.