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ABRS Instructor Stefan Rzadzinski will make his Firestone Indy Lights debut in the upcoming doubleheader at the Edmonton City Centre Airport after being given the go ahead by series officials.
Rzadzinski, a native of Edmonton and works with ABRS in our Edmonton Formula Car programs, will join the highly-talented Indy Lights field for Rounds Nine and Ten in his home city, having recently completed two days of testing and evaluation at Putnam Park in Indiana. The 18 year-old will contest his inaugural Indy Lights races driving for Davey Hamilton Racing thanks to support from the race organizers Octane Motorsports Events and racing mentor, and IndyCar Series standout, Paul Tracy.
"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."
"What an incredible past few days it has been," commented Rzadzinski. "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. "I'm so happy to be a part of my hometown event. The Edmonton Indy will be an incredible three-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 enters the Indy Lights doubleheader at the newly revamped 2.256-mile, 13-turn circuit, having previously achieved good success in both the karting and junior formula car ranks. Starting karting at the age of eight, he earned victories and championship titles all over Western Canada and competed in major karting events around the world. After being invited to test a Formula BMW and Formula Renault 1.6 car, he entered the open-wheel racing ranks in 2009, competing in the Ontario Formula Ford Championship. In his inaugural season of formula car action, Rzadzinski scored a win, earned six podiums, captured two pole positions, and was named Rookie of the Year. Rzadzinski rejoined the Ontario Formula Ford Championship in 2010, winning twice, claiming six podiums and three poles, en route to second in the series title fight. At the end of the year, he entered the Skip Barber Karting Shootout, and earned a full-season Regional Race Series Scholarship for 2011, where after four races, he is 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," added 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."
The Firestone Indy Lights championship chase resumes on July 23-24, with Rounds Nine and Ten at the Edmonton City Centre circuit. Rzadzinski will be one of two Canadians taking part in the doubleheader, joining Ontario's David Ostella, who drives for Jensen MotorSport.