MRTI: Burkett, Grist, Thompson confirmed for rides

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Three quick signing notes from the Mazda Road to Indy in the last few days, two from Pro Mazda and one from USF2000:

Garett Grist joins Juncos Racing for the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires season. The 19-year-old Canadian shifts to the title-winning team from Andretti Autosport for his second season, and rounds out the four-car lineup alongside teammates Jose Gutierrez, Will Owen and Timothe Buret.

“I see it as a great opportunity for me to develop to a higher level,” Grist said in a team release. “The team and I share the goal of winning the championship. It will be great to have a second year in the class; so far in cars I’ve been a rookie every season. I’d also like to thank everyone at Andretti Autosport for a great few years. I learned a ton and had a great time doing it.”

Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, which fought Juncos for the title all this season, has its first Pro Mazda signing in the form of Grist’s fellow 19-year-old countryman, Daniel Burkett. Burkett moves up to Pro Mazda after two years in USF2000, and also captured the Atlantic series championship this year. Outside of the cockpit, Burkett has made some off-beat “search for sponsorship” videos to showcase his personalty.

“My goal main goal entering 2015 is to develop my skills and learn as much as possible from the Cape brothers,” Burkett said. “They’ve developed so many great drivers over the years and it’s an honor to be a part of their organization. We will see what happens in my rookie year of Pro Mazda, however I’m confident that I can be in the top-five every race, fighting for the win.”

In the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, 16-year-old karting standout Parker Thompson is JDC Motorsports’ first confirmed driver. He has already captured several karting championships.

“I am extremely thankful for the opportunity from John Church to be a part of his organization for 2015,” Thompson said. “I am excited to kick off the new race season in the Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 series and look forward to hunting down the championship with the JDC Motorsports boys.”

With tree in tow, Robert Wickens is already in the Christmas spirit

Robert Wickens' official Twitter page
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It may be a week before Thanksgiving, but IndyCar driver Robert Wickens is already obviously in a festive Christmas mood.

Wickens took to Twitter and Instagram Wednesday to post a video showing he just gave himself an early yuletide present: a Christmas tree:

“Got myself a tree! I figured it’s time to get into the Christmas spirit! It’s a very real tree and my arms are itchy to prove it!”

He even ended his tweet with a Christmas tree emoji.

And for good measure, Wickens — wearing a winter ski cap with his name on it — and some of the staff at his rehab facility broke into an impromptu version of “Oh, Christmas Tree!”

Check out what Wickens posted and enjoy a little early Christmas cheer sure to put a smile on your face: