Throughout the life of two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon, he gave the IZOD IndyCar Series and its fans many things – chief among them being an exciting style of driving in the cockpit and a charismatic yet kind-hearted personality out of it.
But as today marks what would have been his 35th birthday, one can’t help but think of another gift he helped give to the sport. The Dallara DW12, which earned its name after Wheldon’s tragic death in the 2011 season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, has served as a phenomenal boost to the series. Wheldon and Bryan Herta Autosport developed the car early on, helping to identify key weaknesses that IndyCar and Dallara would work on leading up to its official debut in the 2012 campaign.
Sadly, Wheldon would not be able to completely see the project through. But through his and BHA’s efforts, the DW12 would eventually become track-worthy. And there can be no argument that it has provided some of the best racing on the planet over the last year and a half. IndyCar’s on-track product has been stellar, which should give its fans hope even as the series continues its current battle to reclaim the public presence it once had.
Indeed, while we wish Dan Wheldon was still here, his presence is still felt in a very positive manner.
Happy Birthday, Lionheart. From all of us.
Get your motor running: American Flat Track’s new season premieres Sunday on NBCSN
If you like racing two-wheel style, make sure you catch the debut of a new multi-year TV broadcast deal featuring the American Flat Track motorcycle racing series on NBCSN.
The 18-round series debuts this Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN with the season-opening race that was held at Daytona International Speedway on March 15.
Going forward, all 18 rounds of the series will be televised on NBCSN in highly-coveted weekend afternoon programming slots without two weeks of each event.
Last season, AFT drew nearly two million viewers on NBCSN with regular primetime coverage on Thursday nights.
This season, the one-hour, tape-delayed telecasts will be part of NBCSN’s regular weekend programing, following or preceding coverage of NASCAR, INDYCAR and Pro Motocross.
AFT is now in its 65th season, with two distinct classes: powerful, twin-cylinder rides in the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines division, and the competition in the 450cc AFT Singles division.
“We are very excited to kick-off our second season of AFT on NBCSN,” NBC Sports Group Senior Director of Programming Jeff Macaluso. “The 2017 season provided us with some incredible racing and showed us how passionate the riders and fans are of this historic sport.
“The move to weekends this year, around other marquis motorsports properties, is sure to raise the level even higher.”