Remembering Dan Wheldon & Jennifer Rardin

In my teen years Ferrari, and sometimes McLaren, dominated F1. Bored, I tried out America’s premier open-wheeler series. I didn’t care for the oval tracks, but I liked the road courses and the purpose-built circuits with more than four corners.

The series was CART, later renamed ChampCar, and currently IndyCar. It was on free-to-air Monday nights/Tuesday mornings (Aussie time) on 10, but then 7 bought the V8 coverage, and with them came the US open-wheelers. Never saw IndyCar on the TV scheduling, though, so I stopped following the series.

We later acquired Foxtel’s basic package, and only this year added a sports package. So we get SPEED, which broadcasts IndyCar, but I never remembered to include the races in the planner.

So come the Las Vegas race this past weekend, I wasn’t really a fan, but it was still a blow to learn of Dan Wheldon’s death. He wasn’t in the series during my fan days, yet his name seemed so familiar.

I remembered Jennifer Rardin.

I don’t profess to be a big fan of her work, but what stood out to me was that she was an IndyCar fan. The kind of authors I read aren’t into motorsport, unless maybe NASCAR, so an American open-wheeler fan is a rare gem.

In my early days of book blogging, I conducted author interviews and hosted guests, and I asked Jennifer to share about her love of IndyCar. Her guest blog was posted 14th June 2008.

Her favourite driver was Dan Wheldon.

So Monday was nostalgic for me, remembering Jennifer Rardin and my ChampCar days. This weekend, Mr Wheldon was to have raced on the Gold Coast in Australia – stock cars, not open-wheelers. A few of his fellow IndyCar drivers have withdrawn from the race (the field is to be half regular V8 drivers sharing duties with half from international series). But others will be racing in honour of Mr Wheldon, and a special memorial is scheduled.

So many cars on such a small track at such high speeds. Rumours to start from the back and receive US$5 million if he’d won. And you wonder why I don’t care for oval tracks.

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