Larry Rice was just a farm boy from Linden Indiana. My grandparents lived in Linden and I would go to the post office with my granddad every Saturday when I was a kid. Larry's dad was the postmaster there and I would ask him about the race car and his son. I also new Larry from my school, you see he was a 6th grade teacher at Mt. Zion Elementary when I was a kindergartner.

Larry didn't teach school very long as I remember, but I do remember all the kids he had in school loved having him for a teacher. He was a gentleman with a gentle voice. Not long after that Rice was racing full time on the USAC circuit and became the national USAC Midget Champion in 1973 and went on to be the USAC Silver Crown Champion in 1977 and 1981.

In 1978 Larry got to race in the Indy 500. As a rookie he finished 11th and was named Co-rookie of the Year with a guy named Rick Mears. Rice raced in the next 500, but never raced Indy after that.

In 1991 Larry put away the helmet to be a broadcaster for ESPN. Larry was the color man in the booth with Gary Lee or Dave Despain by his side. I would get to see Larry once or twice a year at the track or at the Daytona party all of us local race fans went to every year. He was good friends with many of the guys that went to the party and always would sit and visit when we were there.

On Wednesday afternoon Larry Rice lost his second battle with cancer. One of the few opponents he could not whip. Rice died in his home in Brownsburg at the age of 63. Larry Rice died a Champion and a gentleman, two things most people never achieve.