Burkett: Time to make my fellow Canadians proud

Daniel Burkett, Mazda Road to Indy, USF2000, USF2000 bloggers — By on July 17, 2014 9:31 am

BurkettHeadshotHello, readers, and welcome to my post summer vacation/pre-Toronto blog!

Even though USF2000 hasn’t run an event since May, I’ve been quite busy coaching young kart racers and driving in the Atlantic Championship. The Atlantic cars are mega fun to drive and are the closest car in regards to downforce to an IndyCar in the junior formula car world. Currently, I’m leading in points in the Atlantic Championship and I’m only a couple of solid finishes away from claiming the title!

As of this year the Atlantic Championship is still gaining traction, and while it doesn’t mean a whole lot to win it’s still the best seat time possible to train for an Indy Lights season in the future, which I’m eying up for 2016.

In other news, my “Quest for Sponsorship” web series is in full swing! Episode 3 is going to be released later this week. It’s a precursor to the main event of the week, my home race, the Toronto Indy! Be sure to catch up on my YouTube channel if you’ve missed episodes 1 and 2. [Editor’s note: These are legit funny. You really should check them out. -S.]

The Honda Indy Toronto is definitely the most important event for me this year. The great experience I had with the fans here last year made the event an instant hit for me and by far my favorite event I’ve taken part in. They love to cheer for Canadians!

Last year the Belardi truck was, luckily enough, parked right in front of one of the main entrances, so the first thing a lot of the fans saw was my name with a Canadian flag next to it. That certainly got me a ton of attention, and I had kids, parents, and fans of all ages wanting pictures and autographs with me simply because I was a Canadian driver. It made me feel like a rock star and gives me serious appreciation for the fans in Toronto. That’s what started my love for this event. The fans have full access to the MRTI paddock and they certainly take advantage of that. On my way to the grid for every session I would hear them shouting my name and telling me that they’ll be cheering for me. It gives me extra determination to make my fellow Canadians proud.

This year I have a good feeling that I’ll be at the front in Toronto. Last year I was relatively quick for my driving experience, and now, a full year later, my skill has come a long way. I also have Stefan Wilson on my side as my coach. For those of you who don’t know him, Stefan absolutely killed it when he took the Indy Lights win at Toronto in 2011, where he even beat current Verizon IndyCar Series driver Josef Newgarden! He definitely knows his way around the place. This should be a great event for me, and I’m very excited to get back to the front and have a shot at scoring my first USF2000 podium — in my own country!

I hope you’ll follow along and see how the weekend turns out!

– DB

Daniel Burkett races in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship for Belardi Auto Racing. Follow him on Twitter at @dannyburks and on Facebook.

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