INDIANAPOLIS – Dalton Kellett is ready. The personable young Canadian has been ready to make his debut in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES since the deal with AJ Foyt Racing was inked back in December. His dream will become a reality at Indianapolis Motor Speedway where he will drive the No. 14 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet in the GMR Grand Prix July 3-4. That weekend will also mark the first time a track has hosted both the INDYCAR Series and the NASCAR Cup Series.
In addition to the Indy GP, Kellett is scheduled to drive at Road America, Mid-Ohio, Laguna Seca and IMS in the fall. He plans to compete in his first Indianapolis 500 in August.
“I am very fortunate to have the support of K-Line Insulators USA,” Kellett said of the
sponsor that has been with him since his Road to Indy days. “I look forward to representing them on-track this year and especially at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) in August."
Kellett knew he had to wait for his start in America’s premier open wheel series because the original plan called for 4-time INDYCAR champion Sebastien Bourdais to run the first three road/street course events. Scheduled to race April 26 at Circuit of the Americas, the rookie’s wait increased by 10 more weeks due to the pandemic. However, he did debut his K-Line Insulators USA livery in the INDYCAR iRacing Series (cover picture) which ran a six-race series to keep fans engaged during the hiatus.
“I think there is no way around it, with the condensed schedules, this year will be tough for us rookies,” said Kellett, who hasn’t sat in an Indy car since testing early March. “It’s fortunate that I’ve raced at all of the tracks we are going to this year and I have a good group of experienced teammates and strong engineers to work with.”
Driver coach Darren Manning (who drove for A.J. in 2007-2008) chats with his ex-boss and student during testing at Sebring Raceway in early March.
Kellett is a graduate of the Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires driver development program and the Indy Lights Series presented by Cooper Tires Series.
“I believe the Indy Lights and the Road To Indy program do a great job of preparing drivers for the move to INDYCAR,” Kellett said. “The level of competition is very strong and you get to experience the tracks on the IndyCar schedule.”
In Indy Lights, Kellett earned three podium finishes at IMS and also won the pole position for the 2018 Freedom 100.
Kellett paces the field in the 2018 Freedom 100 Indy Lights race at Indy.
Kellett compared the Indy Lights car to its big sister noting, “The biggest difference between the Indy car and Indy Lights car is the high-speed cornering performance. With the added downforce, you can carry much more speed. Braking performance is also substantially better. Surprisingly, the engine power isn’t a big adjustment. The power delivery is much smoother on the Indy car, so it’s nearly easier.”
A graduate of Queen’s University in Kingston, ON, with a B.Sc. in Engineering Physics, Kellett is quite conversant with the engineering staff. “As you progress up the open-wheel ranks, more detailed and precise feedback is asked of the driver,” he explained. “At the IndyCar level, we have open development of certain aspects of the car and you work with a team of specialized engineers. Being able to communicate effectively is a key skill in this team environment and I have found that my engineering background helps with that communication. It also helps to have a detailed knowledge of how each system of the car works.”
The Queen's University graduate with his parents in 2015.
It is fortunate that the Foyt team fielding the No. 14 is based in Indianapolis which is where Kellett has lived since 2015. And he has come to love the Circle City.
“Indy is a great town, the people are very friendly and the downtown is fun. It’s a great area for training and staying active, with all the trails connecting different parts of town. The different neighborhoods are also very unique: Mass Ave, Downtown, Fountain Square, Broad Ripple. I train with PitFit Training which is based here and so is my team so I’m close to the shop.”
The stage is set for Kellett to make his INDYCAR debut on America’s birthday at his ‘new hometown’ track.
The fireworks will be a bonus.