Burkett signs with Belardi

Belardi Auto Racing has signed Canadian karting standout Daniel Burkett, who will join the team's Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda squad for the 2013 season.

Racing since he was just 9-years-old, Burkett holds many karting accolades from Junior Championship titles to Rookie of the Year honors amongst countless podium finishes. The Winnipeg, Manitoba, native is credited as the first Manitoban to become part of Team Canada during karting's 2011 Rotax World Finals held in the United Arab Emirates. The 17-year-old already has ties to the INDYCAR world, nominated in 2011 for the prestigious karting shootout held by IZOD IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe.

"I'm really excited to be joining Belardi Auto Racing," Burkett said. "After the first test day I knew that they were a great fit for me. The team atmosphere was very evident and I got along very well with everyone. After our first test together, I could not find a reason why I should sign with anyone else."

"We are really pleased to have Daniel join our USF2000 program this year," said team owner Brian Belardi. "Daniel traveled down to Indy and tested for us last autumn, and I have to say we were very impressed with how well he transitioned from karts to the USF2000 car. He was quick right out of the box, worked well with our staff and had a great attitude. The 2013 season holds a lot of promise, and we are excited to have Daniel on board."

Burkett is the third overall driver to the Belardi roster and second for its USF2000 program, in which he will join 15-year-old Matt McMurry. The 2013 season will commence on March 14 with a doubleheader weekend at Sebring International Raceway as part of the American Le Mans Series' 61st 12 Hours of Sebring.