For a young man who loved speed from an early age, Dalton Kellett certainly has followed his dreams so far during his short lifetime. The Canadian racing driver from Stouffville, Ontario, currently competes in the IndyCar Series, driving for A.J. Foyt Racing with a primary sponsor by K-Line Insulators USA.
When you sit down with Kellett, it’s hard to tell that he commands a vehicle whose price tag can escalate quickly into the seven-figure range. He is extremely calm and comfortable talking to you about a sport he has loved his entire life. He credits his father’s love of cars, especially “muscle cars,” as his first connection with a love of automobiles.
Growing up in Canada, Kellett loved the outdoors and the winter sport of snowmobiling. By the age of 13, he began racing go-karts in Canada, the U.S. and Europe on road courses. Don’t mistake that for a child’s game since speeds can approach 80 to 90 mph during a race. From there, he would climb through the ranks of various levels of competitive auto racing, finally reaching the IndyCar Series he is involved in today.
Kellett had just completed racing in the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, FL, an IndyCar event, last weekend. This allowed him the opportunity to visit his parents, who own a home here on Marco Island. Dalton himself is very familiar with the area, as his grandfather also had owned a home here since 1989, and he spoke glowingly about fishing here with his family and boating in the area.
While we sat and spoke about auto racing, the natural conversation came around to how the COVID-19 Pandemic had affected the sport. “It was a major factor regarding our events, as we lost about half our season last year. This year, we are hoping we’ll be back into a more normal routine. Like many athletes or those in any competitive environment, we feed off the fans. We just love the energy that they bring to the events,” said Kellett.
Last year would have been his first year, and it was impacted heavily by the same circumstances that brought everything to a semi-standstill here in our nation and around the world. This will be his first full year racing in the IndyCar Series. He had raced in the Indy Lights Series previously, which is the series leading up to the IndyCar level in which he now races. During that transitional period in Indy Lights, he raced for the Michael Andretti Autosport Team and also on the Juncos Racing Team before moving up to the IndyCar Series.
Last year at the Indianapolis 500, Kellett qualified at 228mph. The highest qualifying speed came in at 231 mph in comparison, but Kellett wasn’t far off.
He is paired with Sebastien Bourdais, a French professional racing driver who is one of the most successful in the sport. Kellett and Bourdais are the two primary drivers on their team. “I am very lucky to be paired with Sebastien and learn from his experience,” said the unassuming Kellett.
Kellett will say goodbye to his parents tomorrow morning and fly out to Indianapolis to take care of some personal business, and then leave on Wednesday to fly to Texas to race at the Texas Motor Speedway on May 1, which is his next race.
Kellett received his degree in Engineering Physics from Queen’s University in Ontario, the same school from which his father received a degree in Electrical Engineering. His desire is to stay racing for as long as it is practical.
Throughout our conversation, he shared his excitement about the return of fans, as well as his appreciation of those same fans. “We are very accessible to the fans and I do enjoy that special connection to them. They provide us with a great sense of satisfaction” said a very confident young man who would soon be hurtling around a track at speeds which would take most of our breaths away.