Oilers ink speed demon

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:08 AM ET

An Oilers car in the Edmonton Indy?

Does that mean it will start really slowly, run into mechanical trouble midway through the race and, just when it looks like the wheels are going to fall off, launch a remarkable, edge of your seat stretch drive?

"Nah, this car is going to go from start to finish," chuckled Oilers defenceman Steve Staios, getting his first look at the Rexall/Oilers-sponsored entry in Saturday's race. "It's going to lead from start to finish, that's what we're hoping."

Rexall Pharmacy and Oilers owner Daryl Katz landed the sponsorship deal with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. The colours will fly on the ride of Graham Rahal's No. 6 car.

You have to look pretty hard to notice the Oilers stickers, but it's the thought that counts.

"I think there's a lot of excitement," said Staios, on hand for the unveiling with fellow Oilers Fernando Pisani and Kyle Brodziak. "New ownership and Daryl being a really prominent figure in this community has brought a lot of excitement to these events and hopefully we'll continue that into September (and hockey season)."

YOUTH MOVEMENT

Fitting that 19-year-old Rahal, who in April became the youngest driver to ever win an Indy race, is piloting the Oilers car, what with the hockey team's youth movement and all.

"We've been here (in Edmonton) a lot in the past, three years running," he said. "The team won the race twice. In Atlantic and in Champ Car last year I've been on the podium both years. For me it's always been kind of a hometown race. To now have all the hometown brands and the Oilers on the car is pretty exciting."

Staios sat in the claustrophobic cockpit during yesterday's photo-op at the track and shook his head at the working conditions.

"You get a pretty good understanding of what these guys have to deal with, it's pretty impressive," he said. "It's pretty tight in there. And once they put the steering wheel in it's pretty close to you. I can't imagine going the speeds that they're going, sitting in there.

"I've been to a race before and until you're there you don't really appreciate the speeds and the intensity at which these guys have to work at."


Videos

Photos