Junior Open Wheel Talent

News and Views on Drivers Chasing Open-Wheel Stardom

Indy Lights Unsung Hero: Dan Clarke

by Ryan Stringfield
Posted November 12, 2010 at 3:36 pm Indy Lights, Unsung Hero

Dan Clarke(Photo:Ryan/JuniorOpenWheelTalent.com)

Name: Dan Clarke
Born: Mexborough, Yorkshire – England
Date of Birth: Oct. 4, 1983

Website: http://www.danclarke.me/

Current Series:
Firestone Indy Lights

Final Standings: 7th

Average Finish
(1st Half of Season): 8
Average Finish
(2nd Half of Season): 8.67

Previous Experience:
Started Karting: Age 10
Karting Experience: 17 years
Car Experience: 9 years

  • Formula Ford – 2002
  • British Formula Ford – 2003
  • Formula Ford/Formula Renault – 2004
  • Formula 3 – 2005
  • Champ Car – 2006
  • Champ Car – 2007
  • A1GP – ’08-’09
  • Indy Lights – 2010

Why he was chosen:

In 2008, Dan Clarke feared the worst. His Champ Car career was over and his funding had run dry. Even for the optimistic, his future in racing looked bleak.

Fortunately for Clarke, former Champ Car owner Derrick Walker had other plans and decided to field the talented Brit in the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights series. It would be difficult for anyone to look at the duo’s 2010 season and call it unsuccessful. It was precisely the opposite.

Clarke jumped into an Indy Lights car this spring at Barber Motorsports Park — after missing the first round — and looked right at home; he finished seventh after qualifying 11th. That was just a glimpse of what was yet to come. In just his third race of the year, and second oval race ever, Clarke crossed the stripe fourth in the Freedom 100 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He started the race 10th.

He was just getting started. At the midpoint of the season, Clarke nailed down a runner-up finish at Toronto. From there he logged four top-five finishes in his next five races. He would have secured a string of five-straight top-five’s had his alternator not malfunctioned and drained the battery of his No. 40 entry at Infineon. The DNF changed what was likely to be a fourth-place finish, into a 13th.  He closed out the year with a top-10 at Kentucky and a DNF at Homestead-Miami, due to contact with another competitor.

With his raw speed and maturity evident to even the casual observer, it’s possible  — funding permitting — that Clarke will graduate to IndyCar for 2011. But, returning to Lights and chasing the 2011 crown shouldn’t be ruled out for the talented 27-year-old.

Related Reading: 2010 Unsung Hero Awards

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