Major introduction

DAVE 'CRASH' CAMERON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:39 AM ET

EDMONTON -- Why not throw the kid right into the deep end?

Philip Major started racing go-karts.

He grew up into open-wheel and formula cars.

He even went to Europe to race them.

Turning right, turning left. Left, right, left …

Then the 21-year-old came back to North America with an opportunity to race Indy Lights.

In the Indy Racing League, that means you race turning left and right on road and street courses.

And it means you race turning left, left, left and one more left on ovals.

Major had never just turned left.

Not only did he get to race on an oval in this, his rookie season in Indy Lights, Major got his first try on the Major-domo Grandaddy of them all.

“ My first one was Indianapolis,” he said, still shaking his head over it.

“You have to throw everything you know about road racing out the door.

“And keep your mind open, because th more laps you get, the more you realize what you don’t know about ovals.

“It’s a lot trickier than it looks.”

He also realized the truth about the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway — It really isn’t an oval.

“It’s a rectangle!”

For a few seconds you are high-balling straight ahead and then …

“You get to the corner and you try and straighten up your hands for a split second and then you’re turning back into the next corner.”

Scarifying as it might have been, the kid survived okay.

“It went well, finished sixth so I was pleased with that.

“I think I was the top rookie.”

Major was in Edmonton Thursday, part of the Racing for Kids program visiting at the Stollery Children’s Hospital. He did the same in Toronto last week, visiting Sick Children’s.

Major just hopes his first attempt at the course on Edmonton’s City Centre Airport doesn’t go the same as his race on Toronto’s Exhibition Grounds course.

“Up until Toronto, I had three sixth places in a row and sixth on the season. Unfortunately in Toronto, we had a bit of a disaster weekend and we dropped to eighth.

Major’s open-wheel career started just a few years ago, in 2006, when he competed in Formula BMW USA for two years. He also made two starts in the Skip Barber National Series. At one point, he was the youngest driver ever to compete in the Honda-Michelin Series in Canada when he was 16.

He let word out when he was in Europe that he wanted to come back home-side.

Indy Lights owner Sam Schmidt proved interested.

“We were thinking about Europe again and we really couldn’t find the funds to make it happen,” said Major.

“Then we started talking Sam and we’re able to put something together we thought would be good for this season.”

But in all goes back to go-karting, tromping around the Ottawa Valley where his passion started at age 13 competing in the National Capital karting club.

“The next year was my dad and I just wrenching on the karts going around to all the tracks, just having fun.

“And then it just got more serious!”


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