Leafs’ Clarkson to start Honda Indy Toronto

New Toronto Maple Leafs forward a rabid race fan David Clarkson will be the grand marshal for Sunday's Honda Indy Toronto.

Quick: What do funnyman Dan Aykroyd, Shark Tank business leader Robert Herjavec and new Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson have in common?

As of Sunday, they will have all served as grand marshal at the Honda Indy Toronto, delivering the famous “Drivers, start your engines!” command to the IZOD IndyCar Series racers.

A rabid race fan and Ontario native, Clarkson has been named the grand marshal for Sunday’s showdown.

Clarkson attended the 2012 edition of the event, where he met with Graham Rahal as both athletes raised awareness for their respective charities.

Conversely, Rahal is a big hockey fan, and actually texted Clarkson last Friday, begging the former UFA to sign with his hometown Columbus Blue Jackets.

“To get to go into a car and go as fast as they do, I don’t think there’s anyone who would tell you they wouldn’t like to do that,” Clarkson told sportsnet.ca at last summer’s race.

Clarkson’s parents attended the inaugural Toronto Indy race in 1986, which was coincidentally won by Graham’s father, Bobby Rahal.

Former race winner Justin Wilson and the No. 19 team will honour Clarkson’s return to his Toronto base and the work he does with his charity foundations by sporting the logo for Clarky’s Kids, the player’s foundation to support cancer-stricken children.

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