Edmonton racecar underdog needs help against U.S. Goliath

Alberta racecar driver Stefan Rzadzinski is turning to Canadians to chase down his driving dreams.

'I think my real advantage is that Edmontonians love getting behind their own'

"This is by far one of the best opportunities I've ever had," Edmonton race car driver Stefan Rzadzinski says of potentially competing in the Miami Race of Champions. (Ron Bjilsma)

Alberta racecar driver Stefan Rzadzinski is turning to Canadians to chase down his driving dreams.

The 24-year-old from Edmonton is one of two Canadians in a pool of 10 North American drivers all vying for online votes to compete in the upcoming Miami Race of Champions.

Rzadzinski said driving in the championship would be like playing alongside Wayne Gretzky in his heyday. 

"It's motor sports fantasy camp," he said.

He's pitted against American driver Conor Daly, 24, the son of Formula One racer Derek Daly. 

On Saturday, Rzadzinski pulled ahead by more than 1,000 votes but said Daly's corporate sponsors could crush that lead. Daly is backed by motor sport groups such as Indycar. 

"They've got a really big network — and I'm kind of this nobody from Edmonton who's a little guy trying to make a big noise," Rzadzinski said.

I'm kind of this nobody from Edmonton who's a little guy trying to make a big noise.- Stefan Rzadzinski

"I think my real advantage is that Edmontonians love getting behind their own."

Rzadzinski started racing go-karts at age eight, and has been on the Canadian racing circuit ever since. His first word was "car" in Polish, he said.

"Nothing makes me feel the way racing does," he said.

"It makes me who I am, and I just want to pursue it."

Stefan Rzadzinski, 24, started racing go-karts at age eight and says his first word was "auto" — "car" in Polish. (Supplied/Stefan Rzadzinski)

Voting closes on Monday and Rzadzinski is pleading with Canadians to get him into the race on the Race of Champions Facebook page.

Rzadzinski said racing against his idols on Jan. 21 and 22 is the best opportunity he has to launch an international career.

"There's a lot of talented people, but not everyone gets a shot," he said about motor sports.

"I still have full faith, and I have had since the beginning, that Edmontonians and Albertans and Canadians can help me get there."