Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Dan Wheldon in preliminary talks for TV deal
By Master Tesfatsion
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon is currently unemployed, but he may switch the racing helmet out for a headset for the time being.
Wheldon is in talks with Versus TV to work as an analyst for three IndyCar Series events. He jumped in the booth for the Firestone Freedom 100 on Friday before his thrilling victory Sunday on the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500, edging out J.R. Hildebrand as he crashed into the wall on the final lap. Wheldon’s contract with Bryan Herta Autosport expired hours after the victory at midnight.
“I did it [race analysis] when I was younger for some go-karting programs, but this is my first time for real,” Wheldon said Tuesday at a public appearance for a nonprofit organization. “It’s harder than you think because you’ve got a little ear piece and they’re talking over you and it’s hard to continue to say what you’re talking about when they’re saying, ‘Ok Dan, you’ve got to wrap it up in 10 ... 9.’ I’m like, ‘Ok this is way harder than racing.’”
Wheldon said the talks with Versus started in the beginning of May and would have him working stops at Texas, Iowa and Toronto. He said they’ll work out a clause that will allow him to race if the opportunity arises, but he doesn’t want to rush the situation.
“The team, my management and myself are working to find funding to be able to do it [race],” Wheldon said. “At that point when we find the funding, we have to understand and feel confident that we can get the car prepared to the same standards that it was in Indianapolis to be able to do the race."
Wheldon’s agent declined to comment until an agreement has been reached with a racing sponsor or Versus.