The words “Clarkson” and “power” go together like bread and butter.
Ordinarily, that’s a reference to the BBC’s Jeremy Clarkson of “Top Gear,” and his undying love for more ponies under the bonnet.
This weekend in Toronto, the combination was new Toronto Maple Leafs wing David Clarkson and the power of an IndyCar on the streets around Exhibition Place.
Clarkson, who recently signed a 7-year, $36.75 million deal with the Leafs (linked via ProHockeyTalk here), served as Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto.
More important than that from a charity standpoint, Clarkson’s “Clarky’s Corner” foundation was featured on Justin Wilson’s No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda for Dale Coyne Racing.
It was the latest in a partnership Wilson has had all season to highlight nonprofit groups. So far this season he has had personal foundation decals onboard for Bo Jackson (he even came back and rode in Bo’s charity bike ride), UCLA head football coach Jim Mora and the Dyslexia Institiute of Indiana. Upcoming groups featured Nolan Ryan Foundation and Patrick Dempsey’s cancer foundation in Maine.
Clarkson got to know more about IndyCar racing at Toronto in 2012, through a partnership with driver Graham Rahal and his own foundation.
“I got to know him on a personal level,” Clarkson said in an interview with MotorSportsTalk Sunday in Toronto, before the race. “Both of us have charities. For me now, coming to play here for the Leafs and wanting to start something new, I wanted to do something big. When you’re lucky enough to do what we do, you always want to give back.”
As part of his weekend experience, Clarkson had a hot lap in a two-seater IndyCar.
“It was my first time; I’m not going to say I was scared, but it is pretty fast how quick they go!” he said. “You know they will, but you wonder if the guy will hit the brakes before making a quick turn.”
Clarkson added that like hockey, the reality of being on the ground at an event translates so much better in person than on TV.
“It’s 100 percent like that,” he said. “I’m impressed with the video here too. After a game we look at a lot of video and see where we could have been. It’s similar here with Graham or Justin looking over things.”
More on Clarkson’s new digs in the NHL can be found here, via ProHockeyTalk.