Conflict of Interest: The Summer of Jan Opperman

 In the seventh episode of “Tim Coffeen Talks Indy Car and Racing History,” Tim looks back at his relationship with driver Jan Opperman, an American racing legend who left us way too soon.

Opperman was a competitive racer, but also a man of the cloth, and those two seemingly opposite interests were quite unusual in the world of Sprint and Indy cars. While he was driven to win, Opperman also wanted to assist those in need.

His miraculous season in the summer of 1972, when he won 44 main events, helped him to accomplish both of those objectives…as well as to attract attention from the upper levels of the U. S. racing hierarchy.


Jan Opperman: The Original Outlaw of Racing

Jan Opperman driving a winged sprint car in the 1970's
Photo Credit: Ted Van Pelt

Tim discusses Opperman’s family background, his “hippie” persona, and his steel-eyed focus on winning. In addition, Tim recounts the influence Jan had on Tim’s own career, and why Opperman was once called the “Original Outlaw.” Among the other items of discussion, Tim addresses:

  • Opperman’s steady climb to stardom, from motorcycles to midgets, to Sprint Cars, to Indy Cars. 
  • Entertaining episodes from the life of Jan Opperman, from racing a car with an airplane engine to his remarkable interactions with young fans.
  •  Why Car and Driver magazine once described Opperman’s lifestyle as a “conflict of interest.” 
  •  The reason why the year 1972 was so special for Opperman.
  •  Tim’s own personal feelings about Opperman and why his career was sadly cut short.
  •  and more….

About Tim Coffeen

Tim Coffeen, host of “Tim Coffeen Talks Indy car and Racing History,” will share stories and memories from his long career with top Indy car teams.  As a winner of seven championship rings, Tim not only understands the history of open-wheel racing, he has lived it!

Interviewer/Host – Joe Ziemba

Intro/Promos – Ross Blilie

podcast artwork for Tim Coffeen talks Indy card and Raching Hisory

Please Note – As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Leave a Comment