January 23, 2017 2:49 pm
Updated: January 24, 2017 8:33 pm

Edmonton race car driver beats 2 of the best at Race of Champions

WATCH ABOVE: A young race car driver from Edmonton made his mark on the world stage at the Race of Champions this weekend. Stefan Rzadzinski, 24, teamed up with fellow Canadian - and IndyCar star - James Hinchcliffe to represent Team ROC Factor Canada. Kevin Karius speaks to Rzadzinski about his experience.

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A young race car driver from the City of Champions really made his mark on the world stage at the Race of Champions this weekend. The annual event brings the best motor sports drivers in the world together for head-to-head battles.

READ MORE: Edmonton race car driver wins contest to compete in dream race: ‘this is unreal’ 

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Stefan Rzadzinski, 24, teamed up with fellow Canadian – and IndyCar star – James Hinchcliffe to represent Team ROC Factor Canada.

READ MORE: Alexander Rossi wins Indy 500, Canadian James Hinchcliffe finishes 7th 

In his second race Sunday, Rzadzinski beat defending Indy 500 champion Alexander Rossi. Then, in his third race, he won against former Formula One driver Scott Speed.

Team ROC Factor Canada (Rzadzinski and Hinchcliffe) earned three points, but missed out on making it to the second round.

“What’s beautiful about ROC Factor is that it gives unknown drivers an opportunity,” the race’s founder Fredrik Johnsson said. “Stefan has done an amazing job first getting here, mobilizing so many people to support him, and now here in the race, he’s impressed everybody, competing in cars he has never driven before against the world’s most experienced and fastest drivers.

“Stefan is very impressive and has a big future ahead of him.”

(Video Courtesy: YouTube – Nissan Canada)

The 24-year-old knew this was a great opportunity for him to show his stuff and he was able to make the most of it.

“I’m here with my heroes, guys I grew up watching race,” Rzadzinski said. “Going two for three was pretty cool… I would have loved to be in the finals, but I’m proud. I’m so thankful for the people that got me here. I hope I did them proud. I did all I could.

“I was really focused and tried to do what I know I can do.”

READ MORE: Edmonton race car driver calls on community to help him take part in dream racing event 

Two weeks ago, he won the chance to compete against some of the best drivers in the world, thanks to fans and supporters who voted online.

“My city got behind me and Canada got behind me and we raised 9,300 votes in four and a half days. That meant a lot to me.”

(Video Courtesy: YouTube – Nissan Canada)

He beat out 10 other drivers in online voting to get to the Race of Champions. A total of 26,000 votes were cast for all 10 candidates and Rzadzinski got nearly 10,000 of them.

“I didn’t want to be here just because of the social media votes, I wanted to prove that I can drive proficiently in any environment, and hopefully I was able to do that,” Rzadzinski said. “I still have a lot to learn, but this has been an invaluable learning experience. I am humbled and thankful to my supporters, and the ROC team. I hope this isn’t my last ROC appearance.”

READ MORE: Alberta racing driver Stefan Rzadzinski at Toronto Indy

Nicolas Touchette, CEO of Groupe Touchette, announced Saturday that Rzadzinski will be returning to the Nissan Micra Cup in 2017 with Groupe Touchette to hopefully earn the coveted first place championship title.

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