Q: Saw your story about Panther wanting $17 million for 2014 and it looks like The National Guard paid John Barnes pretty large dollars for…what…5-7 years? I know Panther had to put on pretty extensive PR and soldier entertainment events and perhaps spend extra money. But, given the on-track product, one-car effort and Dan Wheldon having to threaten to sue to get paid it seems like Panther was making some decent profits. Will some of that money be put to use to field a car this year?
Clint, Chicago, IL
RM: The smart money said Panther received $10-14 million a year for six years so I estimated $75 million in my commentary on RACER.com and, of course, we got the actual budget request thanks to The Guard’s on-line document on the protest. Did Barnes use a chunk of that annual budget for the Wounded Warriors and other on-track programs for Guardsmen and women? Absolutely. He was credited for doing a good job in that department. Did he spend the rest on his one-car racing team? I’d guess no. When I heard about Wheldon’s struggle to get paid, I asked him if he wanted to do a story and he said no, his legal team was coming to Toronto for a showdown. I believe he did get paid but could never discuss it. And I’m pretty sure Vitor Meira has a horror story of his own but he would never talk about it either.
Q: Now that Bobby Rahal has secured The National Guard for his team, who do you see as the front-runner and or logical choice for Graham’s 2014 teammate?
Geoff Roberts, Toronto, Canada
RM: I think Bob would prefer Oriol Servia for at least the first year to help Graham (they were good teammates briefly at Newman/Haas and RLLR) and the new guys settle in but I think Conor Daly could have a shot by 2015. It would be cool to see a pair of second generation American drivers on the same team.
Q: Do the powers in charge of IndyCar and the Indianapolis 500 think the buying public are stupid? Make all the changes you want with the Indy qualifying format. Gimmick it up until the cows come home. Give Donald Davidson a permanent migraine. Make it as confusing and hard to follow as you possibly can. But when you only have 33 or 34 cars “battling” for 33 starting spots, then does it really matter? We’ve been stuck with this pathetic scenario for most of the last decade (since 2003) and most of us are sick and tired of it (or have quit caring altogether). Qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 should not be practically a guarantee as soon as you pay for your Indy engine lease in April. Its sacrilegious and a slap in the face to all of those teams and drivers who damn near killed themselves (either literally or financially or sometimes both) for the better part of 90 years at Indy just trying to MAKE the race. So Derrick Walker and his cronies can “work on it” all they want to try and scrape together enough cars to get to 33 again. But until there is a fundamental change to this closed “Soviet-style” model we currently are stuck with (and is one of the biggest reasons the sport is damn near dead and Indy has be so watered down and diminished in significance) then all we are doing is spinning our wheels. And some of us are savvy enough to understand that.
Drew, Gale IN
RM: I can’t disagree with your views and you nailed it, until there are 40-45 cars going for 33 spots, qualifying will never have that fervor of 20 years ago. But Mark Miles, Walker and IMS are trying to put the electric paddles to the month of May and if ABC wants a different look for a live show on Sunday (that might tie in with NBA basketball playoffs), then you have to try. My suggestion would be pay $10 million to win Indy and $1 to win the pole and maybe some sports car and NASCAR teams might come play.
Q: Just spit-balling because I generally like qualifying as it has been (in fact I’m still not sold on the Fast Nine) but if the problems are a Sunday pole hurts Saturday and a Saturday Pole hurts Sunday (already weakened by a lack of cars/bumping) why not consider this? 1) Race for the pole on Saturday (Fast 9 or traditional) BUT! 2) Come Sunday, you can re-qualify for all positions BUT the pole without withdrawing/sacrificing your best Saturday speed. In other words, you are still qualifying for positions 2-33 with your Saturday time as insurance (if you are slower Sunday due to weather etc)…You would still have plenty of position bumping to entertain folks Sunday but if a drive nails a great speed Saturday under perfect conditions he/she might want to sit on it and let others chase. Here is what I’m not sure about. Would it be a good idea for entertainment purposes Sunday afternoon to let the top drivers, who want to do it, risk formally withdrawing all of their best times (both Saturday’s and Sunday’s) to try to BUMP the Saturday pole winner? (Of course the Saturday pole winner could bump back to the top if he/she wanted to withdraw their times as well. It’s a compromise I know but it’s really hard to generate excitement both Saturday and Sunday with so few cars. Just brainstorming but I would be interested in your thoughts.
Lance Barry, Hillsborough, NC
RM: First off, it’s more about television than paying customers and ABC is covering the entire month of May so that’s a big winner for IndyCar and IMS. Will Sunday Pole Day draw more than Saturday? I doubt it but, as for your suggestions, there has to be a financial caveat to re-qualify or take a chance. If I’m sitting 10th after Saturday, what would make me go out and risk another run? Money. But, until there are a bunch more cars or the pole pays $1 million, not sure any scenario is going to move the needle very much.
Q: Just a thought, since qualifying for the Indy 500 has become, in my opinion, a bore fest. Why not follow F1’s format? Three rounds of knockout qualifying. Three rounds, slowest 11 knocked out so forth and so on. Drafting would come into play, slower cars in the mix. Since the most exciting thing about F1 is the qualifying. I think the crowds may show up for qualifying. What do you think?
Brad Heuer, Coeurdalene, Idaho
RM: I guess my quick response is that qualifying at Indy, unlike anywhere else, was usually a nail-bitter for the drivers and great theatre for fans. Obviously it’s been watered down to just about four laps at any speed. Your suggestion might be better for TV than one driver at a time but I really don’t see it having much of an effect on the paid attendance.
Q: So, Mark Miles thinks it is a good to end Indy 500 qualifying on Sunday by 3:00 p.m. so fans can have time to get home at a decent hour to go to work on Monday. While I agree with that 110 percent, I can’t help but think how hypocritical it is for him to say this while he forces late Sunday start times on all of his promoters because of TV. I would love noon start times at Milwaukee, Mid-Ohio, and Detroit so I can get home at a decent hour and be ready for work on Monday without taking an extra vacation day. I’ll bet they will get bigger crowds with noon starts. I only went to Pocono last year because the race started at noon, which allowed me to get home by midnight. So, if you could pass on a note to Mr. Miles I would appreciate it. What is best for his track and fans is what is best for his other promoters and fans.
Matt Converset, Decatur, IN
RM: Television, not IndyCar, usually dictates starting times but you are preaching to the choir. I’ve said for years that all races should start at 1 p.m. and tape delay them if that time doesn’t work for TV.
Q: With St. Petersburg less than two months away who do you think will fill the last four or five spots on the grid for 2014? Also I saw you think KV will probably only run one car this year. Does your opinion change with them testing Sebastian Saavedra?
RM: We have a story on KV signing Saavedra to be announced today and I imagine James Jakes will find a seat along with Servia. Doesn’t look promising for Simona, while Conor Daly may wind up running the month of May for A.J. Foyt Racing.
Q: What is up with Simona de Silvestro? I thought staying with KV would be good since they have Sebastien Bourdais. Then I saw where she was the front-runner with Dale Coyne, then pulled out. I don’t understand. Are they requiring her to bring more money than she has? It is sad to hear that she won’t be in IndyCar this year. She never had a chance to show what she could do.
RM: Of course money is the main consideration and if she had enough sponsorship I imagine she would be with a good team. It’s doubly sad because she’s a good racer and the fans like her but if she’s watching in 2014, that doesn’t bode well for her future. And it’s not good for IndyCar either.
Q: I saw the awesome news that Jason Aldean is performing the night before the race. Who brought IMS into the 21st century? That should bring some much needed attention to Legends day! The only way things could really get any better is if they had Luke Bryan performing the national anthem.
Alan, Butler, PA
RM: Gotta admit I’ve never heard of Jason or Luke but I’m an old man who remembers when people actually came to the Speedway to watch the drivers and cars. If it gets new people to IMS then that’s good.
Q: Thanks for the stories about Frank Weiss and Bryan Clauson. You are right, I’d never heard of Frank Weiss. But guys like him made Indy what it was in the days of 60-car qualifying fields. Your story put things in perspective regarding what has bothered me about IndyCar for some time. Remember when Andy Granatelli said no one can root for a nose and a mouth? I think few fans can get excited about rich ride buyers and foreigners either. I don’t understand why the cars need to be so expensive as to take USAC drivers out of the picture. I wouldn’t care if the cars went 150mph if there was a big field of racers like Bryan Clauson who came up from grassroots beginnings.??
Tom Phillips, Los Angeles
RM: It’s the unknown soldiers like Phil Caliva, Al Loquasto, Jigger Sirois, Ralph Ligouri, Bruce Jacobi and Frank that always represented Indy’s true underdogs. My pal Bob Grim Jr. says get rid of carbon fiber and start building Indy cars out of aluminum and fiberglass and ditch engine leases and we’ll see 70 cars again. But Clauson can drive anything and he belongs in the Indy 500.
Q: I’ve been an “Ed Head” since his FIRST victory at Indy. There will be more. After reading about testing at Sebring with Conway, I was wondering about the “what if” scenario, Ed Carpenter Racing winning the championship. ECR is going to be a tough “single car, two driver” team to beat. Combined, they are Dario in his prime. How would the champion be determined?
Dave Zilai, Lowell, IN
RM: Since the driver earns the points it’s virtually impossible for ECR to win the IndyCar title (although if Conway won five or six races he might make it interesting) but it’s possible that Ed could be the oval-track champ and Conway the road racing king, although I don’t recall them making those awards last year. ECR could win the owners’ championship but not sure anyone pays enough attention to that.
Q: After surviving two attacks by the polar vortex up here in Wisconsin, my wife and I have decided to head south and so St. Pete here we come. After all the years watching CART/Champ car at Road America, we have enjoyed moving around the course for all the different sight lines as opposed to when we go to Indy and Milwaukee. So we would like to get General Admission instead of reserved seats. However looking at the map of the course there is a lot of stuff inside the track and I was wondering how much you could see and if you’re able to move around pretty easy. In other words, with general admission, will this be an enjoyable experience on race day?”
Jim Purtell, Hubertus, WI
RM: Here’s the response from Kevin Savoree, co-promoter of the event, when I asked about GA and roaming:
“General Admission is enjoyable and a big part of our business model. It really allows fans to take in different sections of the race track and is the cool part of street and road races. A favorite is driver’s right at Turn 10 both entry and exit (Dan Wheldon’s pass for the win in 2005)….a good passing zone and lots of concessions! Another favorite is the Pioneer Park area, takes in the Turn 5 thru Turn 9 section of the race track with lots of shade, lots of concessions, the Brighthouse Family Fun zone and the Indycar Fan village.”
Q: I am planning my racing itinerary for the coming season, and I am still finding it difficult to commit to buying tickets to an IndyCar race. I spent some time trying to figure out exactly why… I mean, the series has great racing, a good group of drivers with some real personalities, a good lineup of tracks. The one thing I can’t get over is the cars. No matter how hard I try, they just don’t capture my imagination. I know that the series has made some real progress over the past few years, and I applaud them for this, but there is nothing about the current generation of cars that gives me any “Wow” factor. For me to spend money on a race, I need to see something that awe-inspires me, and this car just doesn’t do it. IndyCar needs to do something about this. Racing has to LOOK and SOUND cool, and the current IndyCar does neither.
RM: I think Derrick Walker shares your concerns and I do think we’ll see some definitive changes in the cars by 2015. Not radical and plentiful like the ‘60s and ’70s but hopefully different enough aero kits to please the old schoolers.
Q: I’m still worried about IndyCar for this year and the future. After great racing in 2013 we are going into 2014 with fewer teams, fewer cars, fewer drivers and fewer sponsors. Some of the fan favorite drivers seem not to be returning to the series. All of this means fewer fans watching on television or in person. IndyCar management does not seem able to take one step forward without tripping and falling two steps backwards. Their definition of fan friendly seems to be that if they get us mad enough, we’ll go away and leave them alone. Heaven only knows what their definition of marketing and promotion is because we’ve not seen them do any. This would be OK if I expected to see a series of announcements about new teams, expanded teams, all sorts of good stuff for 2015, but then again my name is not Timothy Leary. Is there hope for 2015 and beyond? Or will 2014 go down in history as the beginning of the end for American open wheel racing?
John in Charleston
RM: Well I don’t think it’s quite that dreary. Looks like 23-24 full-timers. Losing Simona hurts but adding Montoya is cool. Give Jay Frye and CJ O’Donnell a little time to make a difference in marketing and promotion but I think IndyCar is going to announce a solid title sponsor in the next few days. Thanks, my Verizon phone is ringing, gotta run.
Q: I read your list of “greatest racers” you’ve seen and couldn’t help but notice the names Jay Springsteen and Kenny Roberts. I know this is an open-wheel Q&A, but those two were as good as it gets for racing entertainment. I don’t know if anyone was better on dirt than Springsteen. As for Roberts, I don’t know if anyone was a better all-around motorcycle racer, nor do I know if anyone was more fearless. I remember him racing an obscenely overpowered Yamaha TZ750 road-racing two-stroke on dirt. The fact Roberts raced during the 500cc two-stroke road-racing era and won three championships says a lot. If you thought racers were killed at an unconscionable rate in Indy car and F1 in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, that was nothing compared to those killed riding two-cycle motorcycles whose powerband was either all or nothing.
Steve, Aurora, Colo.
P.S. I noticed Jim Clark’s name wasn’t on the list. Had you not seen him race?
RM: I loved AMA flat track racing and Springer was a badass, as was Gene Romero, Bubba Shobert, Scott Parker, Mert Lawwill and Kenny The Great was dazzling on dirt or pavement. I understand Joe Leonard was as good as anybody on two wheels but never got to see him run a motorcycle. I completely spaced out on Clark and now Dario probably won’t speak to me; and I also forgot my all-time hero, Jim Hurtubise. Hell, I don’t even drink.
Q: I agree with the 31 drivers you put in your top ten list from the Mailbag of February 5th. But I’d add Rich Vogler and Sleepy Tripp. Where do rank those two? And the only driver I’m not too familiar with on your list is Jay Springsteen. Can you talk about him?
Gerry Courtney, San Francisco CA
RM: Springer was AMA flat track champ from 1976-’78 and totally dominated in spectacular style. But I left Scott Parker off the list and that was wrong since he only captured NINE championships. And Chris Carr was also a badass and an EIGHT time title-winner. Ricky Graham was also very good. Vogler definitely belongs with that group and Sleepy was a great midget racer just like Mel Kenyon and Bob Tattersall.
Q: Enjoyed reading your list of favorite racecars – and it is terribly difficult to select five (even of Indy fame), much less five out of all the disciplines of racing. I have to correct you on one of your choices, in terms of the designer. I’ve been a huge Danny Ongais fan since I first saw that beautiful black #25 Interscope Parnelli on the track in 1977 in the hands of the Flyin’ Hawaiian. In fact, I got to know Danny over the years, and was able to communicate with him on a regular basis, the last time being mid-2012.
However, the Parnelli is not the work of Roman Slobodynskyj. The Parnelli P6, P6B and P6C Indy cars are the work of famed designer John Barnard. This came from Parnelli himself, who also told me if they hadn’t run out of money following 1978, the Chapparal that wound up with Jim Hall was actually penned by Barnard to be the next generation of Parnelli – but when Firestone and Viceroy left, it wasn’t meant to be, and wound up with Hall.
Steve, Northville, MI
RM: Thanks Steve, I got Bernard’s Parnelli and Roman’s Batmobile (designed by Roman and owned by Ted Fields) confused but On-The-Gas was tough in both black beauties. RACER boss Paul Pfanner picked up on this point too, and has already corrected the text.
Danny was a strange guy, pretty unapproachable most of the time he was driving but very engaging the last couple times I saw him. We went riding motorcycles once back in Indy, then had lunch and the next week at the track he walked by me like a stranger. But he was certainly fun to watch race and came a long way from drag racing and being a tire buster for Goodyear at Indianapolis.
Q: Following up on The Grim Reaper’s submission and your subsequent response, I think you missed his point. Drivers from the ’60s through the ’80s and into the ’90s had fiery personalities. Many were brash (think Paul Tracy). They held grudges. On-track scuffles were not uncommon. Even AJ as an owner carried that persona into the late-’90s when he slapped Luyendyk at the Texas race and the IRL got rare national media exposure.
Compare that to drivers of the past 15 years and you rarely see that kind of personality. With rare-exception, it seems like a love-fest of mutual respect and admiration between the drivers. Most hard-core racing fans probably don’t care if the drivers are throwing punches, but unfortunately the WWE mentality of potential fans and the national media only pay attention when such things occur.
NASCAR is the perfect example. People pay attention to see if Kyle Busch or Smoke is going to wreck someone and start a ruckus. And although post-race scuffles are not as frequent in NASCAR as they used to be, they are still much more common than in IndyCar. When NASCAR tried to rein in that type of behavior and have their drivers present a polished corporate image, viewership and attendance suffered. NASCAR recognized this and now you have the era of “have at it, boys.” Casual fans pay attention to NASCAR because of the drama between the drivers and teams – it sure as hell isn’t because of the quality of the racing. When I hear NASCAR fans at work talk, they don’t say what a great race Martinsville or Talladega was. They talk about who put who into the wall and the pit-road fights.
The NFL may have a large following, but Richard Sherman stayed in the national spotlight for two weeks because of his post-game tirade and not simply because he is a great cornerback. No doubt Kanaan, Hinch, Helio, and most of the IndyCar drivers give nice interviews and are responsive to fans, but they have mellow personalities for the most part that don’t move the needle and won’t capture the attention of casual or potential fans. It is the nice guy finishes last syndrome. Hornish’s father starting a scuffle with Kanaan at Watkins Glen got more media exposure than most IndyCar races from the past 10 years. Same thing for Danica confronting Milka.
Like it or not, casual fans want drama in their entertainment, contrived or otherwise. Think how much more attention IndyCar would have gotten if Power had gone postal on Dario a few years ago. Or if Dixon had marched into Power’s pit box and punched the tire changer he ran into. Or if Danica and Milka had gotten into a hair-pulling cat fight (and then fallen into a mud puddle while ripping off each other’s fire suits…). You can promote and market nice guys and gals and great racing all day long but will the majority of potential fans care enough to pay attention?
David, Greensboro, NC
RM: Point taken. I went back and re-read his letter and I think you’re right in that he misses the rivalries and characters. Bobby Unser slamming Tom Sneva on the IMS public address system or Rutherford and Johncock fighting in the press trailer at Phoenix or Parnelli tangling with Sachs after Indy in 1963 all made headlines we remember. Paul Tracy and Sebastian Bourdais had a longer, meaner and more volatile rivalry than most and it was REAL. Power and Dario gave us some good moments on and off the track but I guess fighting and crashing always win out over good racing with the casual viewer.
Q: I’m writing to let you know that I enjoyed your article recently on Al Unser Jr. and Michael Andretti. I grew up watching those guys race and their contrasting styles were great to watch. Andretti seemed like he was always charging at maximum speed and he would rather crash out trying to win, while Unser Jr. seemed to disregard qualifying a bit more and focus on his race setup. Their career results seem to reflect that mindset as Michael had more career wins while Unser Jr. had the two championships and Indy 500s. I wanted to ask you about how Michael became a car owner. Was it one of those deals where Barry Green needed a partner and he and Andretti got to talking? Or was it more where Michael always wanted to be a team owner and he convinced Green to work together?
RM: Good question. I never imagined Michael wanting to own a team, figured he might just head for a golf course and forget about racing after he retired. But he does have a passion for it, comes into the shop early every day and continues to expand his operation (which IndyCar and the feeder series should be thankful for). I think Barry Green made his brother, Kim, Kevin Savoree and Michael a good offer and they jumped on it. And Barry jumped on his yacht and sailed away.
Q: Hope you are doing great, even with this too long, frozen off-season. Wanted to tell you we loved the story about the rivalry between Al Jr. and Mikey. As I have said before, Mario won the first Indy 500 I went to, and even though I was very young, I was and remain a big Andretti fan. Worked year round at the Speedway in the mid-’80s, and one day during May in ’83 or ’84 I happened to have a chance to talk to Al Jr. He was completely cool. No attitude, down to earth, funny, in no hurry. He didn’t seem at all bothered by talking so easily with a nobody teenager. It is easily one of my favorite memories as a fan, if not the single coolest thing ever. I was also an Al Sr. fan, as well as Foyt too at the time, but after that meeting with Al Jr., he became my favorite driver.
In ‘92 I had a bad accident less than a week before the 500, and I was all but certain I would miss the race. A friend, and also a Speedway employee, was able to get us a pair of seats in the grandstand across from the start/finish line, and he helped me get into the track, and up the stairs, against doctors wishes as I was still wearing a catheter bag, and was pretty beat up. He was a huge fan of Mikey, and of course I liked Mikey too. We both kept yelling at his car when he came by to SAVE SOMETHING!
What a race that was, and bittersweet with Al Jr. winning. Those two guys were just badass during their careers, and it was a great time to be an open-wheel fan. It is a great time to be a fan now too. We are so fortunate to have such an awesome group of drivers. We like each and every one of them, some a little more than others for sure, but overall, what a great group of personalities and talent. I could be crazy, but I believe the past couple of years we have had the greatest group of racers. They have to rate right up there. How would you say they stack up Robin?
RM: I think the past couple years rate pretty high, obviously much better than the split seasons from 1996-2008, although the CART field was mighty potent in the late ’90s. For a long time in the 1950s and 1960s, they said the 33 best drivers comprised the Indy 500 and when you look at their accomplishments it was hard to disagree. Ditto for the ’70s. The buy-a-riders began in the ‘80s and that watered down the depth but I think the most awesome field ever assembled had to be 1966 with four World Champions/eventual World Champions (Clark, Hill, Stewart, Andretti), A.J., Gurney, Rube, Ward, Parnelli, the Unsers, McElreath, McCluskey, Herk, Joe Leonard, Cale Yarborough and sprint stars like Larry Dickson, Bob Grim, George Snider and Ronnie Duman, to name a few. Plus Jerry Grant.
Q: Been an Indy 500 fan forever can you elaborate on the Johncock/Rutherford rivalry? I was reading your Mailbag a few weeks ago and was wondering, was it about sponsors? Or just at Indianapolis? Or over several years?
J.R. from Illinois (not Fort Worth)
RM: Not sure exactly when it started but it came to a head at Phoenix in 1976 or 1977 after they’d tangled on the track. J.R. threw a roundhouse at Gordy, who ducked, and USAC PR man Ray Marquette took the punch and lost his glasses in the process. Don’t remember another incident after that one.
Q: Seeing the LA and Miami Formula E series races scheduled for 2/14/2015 and 3/14/2015, respectively got me thinking. Would it make sense to also run Indy cars those events? It’d be nice to have a downtown Miami race again since Homestead was removed from the schedule and talks of a Fort Lauderdale race never materialized.
Scott, Hollywood, FL
RM: Well it might if the promoter could afford it and my understanding is that Fort Lauderdale turned down the Dolphins before voting thumbs down on an IndyCar race because the sanction fee was too high. CART had a great crowd in downtown Miami in 1995 but Champ Car couldn’t draw flies in 2002.
Q: This isn’t a question, but I thought I should pass along this info to some of our old open-wheel buds that raced in OK who remember Harold Leep and raced with him. http://newsok.com/auto-racing-legendary-sprint-car-driver-harold-leep-sr.-dies/article/3931594 Sad story. My father raced against him twice, and promptly quit. Helluva deal and a great guy. After all the racing, crashes and flips, Harold dies slipping on ice and busting his head, age 81.
Your Okie friend, Otis Hibbard
RM: Thanks Otis: my pal Shane Carson sent me Harold’s obit. Never saw him race but heard a lot about his legacy. Amazing to think he survived those wild days of sprint-car racing and lost his life walking at home.
Q: I am a big fan of USAC racing, I live in California and grew up going to Turkey Night at Irwindale (I’m only 21, and I don’t think there’s another person under 30 within a hundred miles of me who knows what a midget car is). I think midget racing is some of the most entertaining and aesthetically pleasing racing there is to watch; sprint cars are great as well. What I don’t understand is how the management at USAC could be so inept in their promotion and exposure to the sport.
I saw your Dave Darland interview from Turkey Night this year and afterward you criticized USAC for the amount of time the event took and I couldn’t agree more. My friend and I (he had never seen a midget race, but liked off-road racing and was curious) went out to Perris in 2012: the racing was awesome, the time between the races and persistent dust blinding us in turn 4 weren’t. By the time the main event started he was pretty much over sitting there.
Young people no longer have the attention span or desire to sit through that when we have computers, TVs, video games, and smart phones to entertain us. It’s not just a USAC problem, it’s a motorsports problem. We don’t have the patience for it.
Also, USAC charges $15 a month to watch their videos online. Videos of the NFL, NBA, NASCAR, AND EVERYTHING ELSE are on the internet for free. The management at USAC is high if they think people are going to pay $15 a month to watch sprint car races on their laptops, but even worse is that prospective fans don’t get any exposure to the sport, so how does USAC expect anyone to know they exist? The biggest moment for midget racing every year is the Chili Bowl, which USAC has absolutely no part in. I really just don’t get it. I know you used to race midgets and love talking about them, what do you think?
RM: The Perris promoters may have been responsible for that inane delay between the B and A mains but USAC is usually guilty of dragging out race after race and people getting home at midnight or later. You are spot on: your generation doesn’t have six hours to spend at a racetrack so things had better change. I know USAC is working on a weekly TV show on cable and I would think free streaming returns if that happens. Nothing better than USAC midgets and sprints on the dirt – they just need some promotion, and a big title sponsor would be helpful. USAC needs to change its culture and I hope it does.