Local racer happy with Indy Lights debut

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:18 AM ET

EDMONTON - Stefan Rzadzinski was sporting a huge blister on his right palm commemorating the biggest day of his racing life.

The local product finished 10th in his Firestone Indy Lights debut Saturday, able to complete a race that five of the original 16-car field were unable to.

"It was a pretty wild one," said Rzadzinski. "It was pretty exciting, there were a lot of accidents out there, but it was a huge learning experience for me.

"I think the two hours we lost (Friday), I really could have used for (Saturday's) race. But we did what we could and I'm happy with how I finished. I can't thank Octane enough for giving me this opportunity."

Race organizers were instrumental in allowing Rzadzinski to take part in the event.

However, the 18-year-old had to wait an extra day to get into Davey Hamilton's car as Friday's practice sessions were cancelled due to rain.

Saturday, Rzadzinski had just one practice session before going on to qualify 16th for the race.

"I had a few butterflies before the race, but other than that I was fine, it wasn't too bad," Rzadzinski said. "I knew what I was up against, I knew that I had to make up a little bit of time and I was working at it.

"We were able to get things figured out, we had some equipment issues, kind of struggled on the downshift and I got a huge blister unfortunately, but that's part of racing."

Rzadzinski was able to benefit from a four-car pileup on Turn 5 of the opening lap, moving up six spots in the process.

It was a position he maintained until spinning out in the infield.

"I was actually hoping there would be a lot more cars involved," Rzadzinski smiled. "You saw it coming, though. The field is so close here, you can only expect more of that in the races (Saturday). It's tight, there is no room for two cars, really in any spot around here."

On lap 14, Rzadzinski spun into the infield and was unable to drive back out onto the track as his car got stuck in the soggy grass.

He needed a push back out on the track and found himself a lap down. He went on to finish two laps off the pace.

"I just touched the water, spun around and then all of a sudden, I was in a lake," Rzadzinski said. "I thought I was surrounded by a river out there, with all the water that was there, you can't get out of there."

Rzadzinski will start in the 13th spot for Sunday's second Indy Lights race.

"This was a great experience," Rzadzinski said. "We finished in the top 10, and when you finish in the top 10 for your first race, you can't complain at all."

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/SUNdvandiest


Videos

Photos