Robin Miller's Mailbag for August 26, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Robin Miller's Mailbag for August 26, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Insights & Analysis

Robin Miller's Mailbag for August 26, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

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Welcome to the Robin Miller Mailbag as presented by Honda Racing / HPD. You can follow the Santa Clarita, Calif.-based company at http://hpd.honda.com/ and on social media at @HondaRacing_HPD and https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD .

Your questions for Robin should continue to be sent to millersmailbag@racer.com We cannot guarantee we’ll publish all your questions and answers, but Robin will reply to you. And if you have a question about the technology side of racing, Robin will pass these on to Marshall Pruett and he will also answer here.

NOTE: Due to the outpouring of fans responding to the tragic passing of Justin Wilson, The Mailbag will be a little different this week. We’ll start out with the address to donate to Justin’s two daughters and then we’ll run all your letters with no response from me and then go back to the regular format. Thanks, Robin.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Justin Wilson’s children via:
Wilson Children’s Fund
c/o INDYCAR
4551 W. 16th St.
Indianapolis, IN 46222.

(ABOVE: Justin and Julia with baby Jane, after he won at Belle Isle in 2008 – a victory JWil dedicated to his team co-owner, Paul Newman).

Today we mourn. Justin Wilson died Monday. You can Google him or go to Wikipedia and read up on his race stats. He was a lot more than that. He was a husband, a father, a brother, a son, a racer, a champion, and a true gentleman (even when most of us out here wouldn’t be). You probably can’t bribe anyone who met him to say a bad word about him. Go look at the many stories about him (RACER.com, IndyStar, etc), there’s some really great ones being put out on the web. He was a selfless to a fault. Tony Kanaan said it best about racers: “Why do we do this? Because we love it, don’t want to be anywhere else but a racecar. We will keep your legacy my friend. Racers race.” And as race fans we watch them. We cheer them on, reveling in their skill, their daring. We yell at them when something goes wrong. Curse when someone screws up. And we cringe when things go bad. And sometimes we watch them die. It’s not fair to lose a man like Justin. The world’s a lot worse off than it was Sunday morning. Today we mourn. And Sunday we race. They race because they love it. And we watch because we love them, and are in awe of the talent, of the bravery they possess. And on Sunday, we will all do it to honor one of best all around gentlemen to ever get behind the wheel. Rest In Peace, Justin. We will never forget you.
Jeremy from Harrisburg, Pa. (living in Indiana)

 

I know races like the Rex Mays Classic got canned for sponsored races because the sponsors wanted the sponsor etched in people’s minds (if a race were the “Budweiser Rex Mays Classic”, people would still call it the “Rex Mays Classic”). As a devoted student of the history of the sport, I ask for something special: that a deal is worked out for this week’s race at Sonoma to be retitled the “GoPro Justin Wilson Memorial,” I’d also love to see some collective effort between the drivers, the teams, the series, and the track to arrange for some of this week’s proceeds to be donated to Justin’s family. Godspeed, JWill. You made Sundays so much better for 10 years as you cut your way from 20th to 5th when no one else was passing on the track. You’ll always be one of the fastest in our hearts.
Alex in Florida

 

It was nice to meet you this weekend at Pocono, though looking back the conversation was eerie. We talked about how safe racing has become next to the days of the board tracks, like Altoona and the ’50s and ’60s. To think back before the race when RHR and Justin Wilson were in the back of the same Hummer waving to the crowd, how much different their afternoons turned out. Guess that is/was a draw to racing, to watch your heroes cheat death for three hours. As Tazio Nuvolari once said when asked if he was afraid to die in a racecar, “How do you want to die, In your sleep? How do you sleep at night?…..”
God Speed Justin Wilson. Always was smiling.
Dewey, Cadiz, OH

 

From Websters 1913 dictionary: Character: “The peculiar quality, or the sum of qualities, by which a person or a thing is distinguished from others; the stamp impressed by nature, education, or habit; that which a person or thing really is” We remember Justin Wilson.
Jeff, Florida

 

Heard about Badass passing away last night on my way in to work this morning, after checking updates on racer.com throughout the day Monday. Brings tears to my eyes. His TV interviews were always gracious, my son and I got his autograph a few times at the Fan Village, even a picture of him with my son. My first thought was, “Oh no, his daughters.” Always rooted for him. Heck, I root for nearly every driver, but some more than others. JW was in the “way more than others” group. Canopies or windscreens. It’s time.
Curt Larson

 

A few months back, I was going through a rough patch on the employment front and, after reading an interview you did with Justin Wilson on him getting a ride with Andretti, I sent him a message on a whim via Facebook. Here’s what it was:

Pardon the unsolicited message…I had a bad day today. Turned down for a job for which I’m well qualified for an industry that holds my interest. It was yet another dismissal in a long line of dismissals. Then I saw you’d gotten a ride with Andretti, which is of course great news. Then I saw your interview with Robin Miller, and I have to say, it was inspiring. Seeing you keep such an upbeat attitude even in the face of a less than ideal situation was just what I needed today. So huge, huge congratulations to you. I’ll be rooting for two JWil wins in May!
Zachary Smithingell

Here’s the response I got.
Thanks for the message Zachary. Sometimes you don’t know what is around the next corner so don’t give up.
Best wishes, Justin

Just sick about Justin Wilson’s death. It wasn’t obvious where the piece hit him, but I never expected him to come out of the coma. That part was just too heavy! These cars are so safe today that it’s shocking when someone dies. Especially with a fluke like this. And almost ho-hum when cars go flying and twirling in the fence – and the driver just walks away. And I know we always think better of the departed, but really – the last three deaths have involved the nicest people! Justin, Jules, Dan Wheldon… it makes the deaths all the more cruel and heartless. After Dan died, I stopped watching ovals for most of the year. I just couldn’t. Dan’s death was so pointless, in a race that never should have been run! Looking forward to your next column. We need to read it.
Jon Doeringer

(BELOW – outside IMS gates on Tuesday night. Image: Steve Shunck)

 


 

(ABOVE: Assen, Holland, 2007 – Justin has just scored RuSPORT’s final victory. Here he’s with Jan Heylen and Bruno Junqueira. BELOW: Winning the Greg Moore Legacy Award that same year. BOTTOM: In action at Long Beach).

I’m fortunate enough to have met Justin Wilson at the 2013 Long Beach GP. He had just wrecked his car and while his crew was assessing the damage he was talking to us fans. I approached him to ask about the track and how the grip levels change. He told me everything about how the different types of tires each series runs and how differently they affect the racing line and differences between the concrete and asphalt. He also gave me insight on how his crew would be able to get his wrecked car to the same setup as it was before. It’s great to have sportsmen like him in the IndyCar Series who take time to offer insight to the fans. We’ll miss you at the track JWill, but your character and spirt is forever immortalized with us. RIP Justin Wilson.
Ruben E. Hernandez, Austin, TX

 

Obviously, his family is most in need of our thoughts and prayers at this time. But as you were one of Justin’s biggest supporters over the years, I am sure it is personally gut-wrenching to see this happen. I was watching live when Ayrton, Dale Sr, Greg, Dan, and now Justin lost their lives. I know it probably doesn’t help much, but I want to spare a thought for you and your fellow racing reporters to know how much, as a fan, I appreciate the gracious way you manage to do your jobs when these terrible things happen.
Bary Berger

 

Just read of Justin’s passing. A sad day for fans of all types of motorsport. There was no classier individual in all of racing than JWil. Hats off to Tony Stewart for offering his plane to Justin’s family.
Dave Nicholls, Whitby, Ontario

 

Robin, please give Justin’s family my condolences…please extend that to the entire IndyCar family. I had the pleasure of meeting Justin at Long Beach back in 2012, same year I got my picture taken with your mug. I asked him about qualifying and he expressed disappointment. I said what the heck man, you’re on the front row! He said he didn’t earn it due to the Chevy’s being moved to the back for the unapproved engine change. You could see the fire in him, the same fire that gave Coyne his first win. Justin was kind enough to take the time to take a picture with me while my friend shouted… “Hey those drivers are short.” How many times have we seen drivers dodge loose wheels and other debris? Many times! Our sport is dangerous and we lost another good one. I’m sorry about your friend, Robin.
TJ Spitzmiller

 

I am so crushed by the sad news of Justin Wilson’s passing. Was fortunate to meet & speak to Justin many times over the years. Pure English Gentleman with a smile. Prayers to his family
Jim B, San Diego

 

It is with a heavy heart that I sit here and write Robin. As a true fan of Dan Wheldon since his early days on Andretti, mine and surely many others lost their favorite driver four years ago. I understand the loss that Justin Wilson’s fans and fans of the sport must be feeling right now. In truth we root for all these drivers to succeed and Justin Wilson was no different. He was always a class act and one of the most accomplished drivers in the IndyCar field. He was a humble, family man, a gentle giant and a fierce competitor. But as we fans try to deal with this pain and rationalize how to feel about Sunday’s Sonoma race, we must be respectful of the great driver Justin Wilson is because he is also a father and husband. It would be callous otherwise to engage in a surely ugly debate about canopies, roll cages, closed cockpits etc. I believe those discussions should be reserved for another day after the season and that now is a time to remember the man that has been lost to the sport he loved. Rest in speed, Justin
Dan Kaup

 

I wrote you a letter earlier today about what an awesome weekend my family had at the Pocono race this weekend. My kids are in bed now and I sit here wondering how to break the news of Wilson’s passing to them. Justin was a wonderful person and was fantastic with the fans. I’m guessing I need to remind them of that.
Pete, Arnold, MD

 

I’m writing to encourage every single race fan to contribute money to the Wilson Children’s Fund. The Mailbag and press will be filled with articles about the tragedy of Justin’s death, what can be done to prevent future incidents and will question whether racing is just too dangerous. And then as fans, we’ll sit back and say that there isn’t anything that we can do as individuals. Well, there is something we can do. We can make sure that the Wilson children are provided for. My check is already in the mail.
Bill Carsey, North Olmsted, OH

 

Great race, devastating events. All of our prayers are with Justin Wilson, his family, friends and all those touched by the events of this weekend.
Dino from New Hanover, Pa.

 

My wife and I were not in the line for the autograph session at Pocono but were outside the ropes and watching Justin interact with the fans was great. Shaking hands, taking pictures and speaking with people. What a loss.
Ray Giannamore


Q: I hope you will consider publishing this question for your Mailbag. I know you will be inundated with questions and concerns about canopies, safety, etc. I’d like to remember the man and focus on him for a moment. What is the story behind Justin Wilson being called “Badass”? He was so humble so I’m sure this nickname gave him a good chuckle. Also, can you share any anecdotal stories about Justin that always bring a smile to your face? RIP Justin…we will miss you!
Paula in Tempe, Arizona

RM: Justin got the nickname from his Formula Palmer Audi days. His instructors named him that because he was so good, but he was so un-Badass out of the cockpit. When RuSPORT folk found out, they loved the nickname for the same reasons and pounced on the idea and actually put it on the cockpit of his Champ Cars. Dreyer & Reinbold did the same, across top of his steering wheel [ABOVE].

Q: I think I have the solution to making IndyCar’s safer without adding a canopy. So when the wheels coming off of the cars in accidents became an issue we started tethering them to the car so they don’t fly off in crashes, and I know LMP1 rules recently adopted this after McNish’s crash at Le Mans a few years ago too. What if we had a thin, high strength tether webbing that could be melted to the aero work at certain points, probably at all the intersections of the webbing? That way in the event of an accident, when the body pieces shatter they wouldn’t fly off in big chunks. Tiny little carbon fiber bits would still come off, but large sections like what hit Justin wouldn’t. I think it could be applied to all the aero kit pieces on the current chassis and hopefully all the bodywork on the next one. I would assume we could find a may to manufacture the aero parts to have the webbing inside of them. Do you think this could be a feasible solution?
Alex M, from Michigan

RM: Just emailing with Wally Dallenbach Jr. and he reckons that could be the quick fix for IndyCar in 2016. Marshall Pruett weighs in here.

Q: Please tell me IndyCar (and/or Andretti Autosport in this instance) provide some level of insurance for drivers. What happened to JW was heartbreaking enough in itself; surely his family isn’t now to be burdened with hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses as well?   
David Spear

RM: All of Justin’s medical bills are covered and I believe there is a $250,000 insurance policy on each driver. But Justin never made the big bucks so I hope a lot of us pitch in and help Julia and her two precious daughters.  

Q: I have not watched an oval race in years but after reading the positive reviews in the mailbag this year, decided to tune in. The tragic Wilson incident not withstanding, the race was very entertaining and I will definitely watch more in the future. With the exception of the Rahal incident, which could be argued was caused by multiple factors, it seemed like the rest of the accidents were self-inflicted. Is the track that tricky?
Mark , San Diego

RM: I believe it is and T.K. was probably the 100th driver to crash in the Tunnel Turn this decade alone. Lots of passing and exhilarating restarts. But that’s not what we will remember about Pocono of 2015.


 

Q: Well the season end is upon us and I am actually excited. I am split on whom I want to win the title with JPM being my Old Guy (me not him) favorite and Graham taking the Second Generation honors. Graham winning might actually excite the younger fans and maybe push that third generation kid to a higher level of motivation giving fans even more to root for. I hope that nobody causes either of them to lose the title and wish them both clean, safe and fast racing. Whoever wins this season ended up being pretty darn good. Please don’t drop off the face of the earth after the season ends. I truly enjoy all of the retrospective articles you do and would love to see more. Thank you for another season of telling it like it is.
Tom Patrick, Lake Arrowhead, CA

RM: Obviously the championship has lost quite a bit of its luster following Justin’s tragedy but everyone will rally this weekend because that’s what racers do. JPM has a little cushion now on Rahal but Dixie and Power still have a chance given that it’s a double-points race.

Q: I know you are going to get a lot of emails on this subject after Sunday, so here are my thoughts. I have been an IndyCar fan for over 50 years now and I am wondering is this the end of oval racing or the end of open cockpits for the cars? It’s one thing at 70mph, but another thing at 220! Is racing more important for drivers to endure this, or risk their life for? I guess we have been asking these questions for many years now, so what’s new…right? Is it time to develop a device in front of the car to deflect pieces of other cars hitting the driver? If so, how fast can we develop something? We now have recently two drivers hit by debris. Hinchcliffe, who is OK now from the hit and now Wilson. Where is the balance? I’m not sure what else to say – tethering every piece of the car? I think I have seen enough. We can’t be NASCAR, but please let’s do something!
Michael, Murfreesboro, TN  

RM: I think IndyCar will take a long look at what they might be able to do down the road but with the new 2018 car plans being scrapped, not much major can happen. I think. Justin had fan safety in mind with this story on RACER.com a few weeks ago about putting fans inside the ovals and he was on the driver safety panel but I think he felt pretty safe in today’s car. He was just victimized by the unluckiest bounce ever.

Q: How can it be that after 40 years open wheel racers are exposed to the same dangers? With all the advances in technology drivers remain exposed to the most obvious, a blow to the head. Does the “sport” care so little for the men and women that compete? What value is the tradition of open cockpit racing if fine people are taken needlessly? “That’s racing” is a poor excuse, this is shameful. Rest in peace, Justin.
C Deery, Lancaster, Pa.

RM: The danger element has, is and will always be part of the attraction. Not unnecessary danger but Indy cars are edgier, faster and more vulnerable than NASCAR or sports cars. And they’re safer than ever – just not bulletproof from a freak tragedy like last Sunday. But some smart people aren’t sure a canopy would have made any difference considering the velocity and impact of Justin’s situation.

Q: I’m writing to the Mailbag because it represents the closest thing IndyCar has to a fan forum. At the moment I feel very upset that the series has come to this point in terms of the sort of thing that happened to Justin, Dan and others in the past. I urge IndyCar to do something about this. I realize that a lot of fans are opposed to this on the grounds of “tradition” and other things related to that. I also understand that during the time you started covering the sport and were around it death was definitely more of a common thing. My dad has told me the story of guys like Eddie Sachs and others who met very tragic fates. But it breaks my heart to see and to think there could have been some way to prevent this. Wilson was a great driver and an even greater person to his friends, family and fans. To have lost him, just for a lack of a better word, sucks. To not see him walking around with ever present smile in the paddock is going to be very hard for everyone to take. Justin deserved better, and the drivers in this series deserve better. I’m saying this pleading to anyone that reads this, whether you’re Mark Miles, Roger Penske, Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan or just anyone with some sort of sway within the series. Please, I beg of you, do something. Have the cars have a bigger wind screen like the 70s and 80s, develop a canopy for the cars…anything. Hell I wouldn’t even be against us just using Daytona or Le Mans prototype-looking cars. Just fix this. I saw us almost lose Dario, Mikhail, and Hinch via a manner of different, scary ways. I saw us lose Dan. We just lost BadAss. No action on the part of IndyCar is not an excuse at this point. This long off-season we have coming up may be a blessing in disguise in that regard. Let’s figure something out. Lastly? My prayers are with everyone in the IndyCar community. Let’s pray everyone feels peace and understanding during this time
Gus in Akron

RM: Death was a way of life in the ‘50s, ‘60s and early ‘70s but many of those fatalities led to huge gains in safety. It’s possible Justin’s accident could prompt a change for 2016 but it’s going to take some smart people, money and testing to make it happen. Can’t see it before 2017 or 2018 if it happens. 


 

Q: I went with my Dad and a friend to this weekend’s Pocono race. The race itself was very good and a great show; I will definitely be back if it’s held next year. I also hope that the series will move to put some sort of canopy or screen on the cockpits. I know the purists don’t like the idea, but virtually every other component of an Indy car has evolved or changed over the decades (powertrains, chassis/aero, running gear, electronics, etc.) why should this be any different?  Like the rest of us, my thoughts and prayers are with Justin and his family.
Kyle P., Mansfield, MA

RM: Ryan Hunter-Reay (ABOVE, with his sadly temporary teammate) addressed the canopy question in his post-race press conference and it’s got pros and cons. Like trapping the driver if he or she is upside down and fire breaks out. I think IndyCar will study the possibilities but hopefully not make a knee-jerk reaction.

Q: Canopies are an inevitable discussion for the next few weeks. What if the drivers were recessed back in the car somewhat under the rollhoop and air intake? It wouldn’t have prevented the injury to Felipe Massa, but I believe it would have prevented what happened Sunday. It also solves the problem of overheating the driver and distorted field of view created by a bubble canopy.
Ryan in West Michigan

RM: I’ve heard suggestions of an top fuel-type cage that wouldn’t impair visibility too much so that might be the easiest way to try and provide more protection.

Q: Dammit! Yesterday I voted on Racer’s poll that ‘no, closed cockpits were not necessary’. It was my first gut reaction and even when I looked at the poll after learning of J-Wil’s sad passing, the ‘NOs’ were still winning (1,338-975 at time of this email). Well Robin, I take it back. Despite my initial view as a long-time fan that open-wheel cockpits are what makes the sport I love great, I think it is high-time that IndyCar leads the way and asks its suppliers to design a safer concept for open-wheel racers. It is open-wheel racing after all, not ‘open-cockpit’. It is a depressing list of careers cut short by injury or death, and I’m sure I’ve missed some: Wheldon, da Matta, de Villota, Bianchi, Senna, Clark, and Massa has never been the same after his accident. Closed cockpits wouldn’t have prevented all of these, but may have helped some. Godspeed Justin Wilson. May your achievements always be remembered along with that ear-to-ear grin you exhibited from Day 1 in the bigs at Minardi.
Trevor Bohay, Kamloops, BC Canada

RM: It’s a touchy subject right now because of the shock of losing Justin and how he died but there is an inherent thrill and danger of open cockpit, open wheel racing and Wilson loved it. But, like I said earlier, it will be a major talking point for the next car – whenever it’s built.

Q: With the resolution of the Andretti Sports Marketing lawsuit, what impact might that have on the Milwaukee race staying on the schedule under the new Lopes/Taylor marketing group? I mean, yes, they essentially wrestled the marketing arm away from Andretti, but with NOLA out and Milwaukee shaky, what did they really gain? Also, you mentioned “reality” setting in for the IndyCar Series in 2017. Care to elaborate?
Scott, Bargersville IN

RM: The only people who can answer your question are Lopes and Taylor and John hasn’t returned phone calls. But I imagine if they got a title sponsor they could try Milwaukee.


Q: The racing and ratings have been tremendous this year…AWESOME! Would Marco serve his career best to leave his father’s team to boost his career? Which small oval is more likely to join the schedule in ’17: Richmond, Gateway or Nashville? Praying that Pocono stays, how about throwing a bone out to Eddie and make Texas part of the Triple Crown? Heaven knows he would promote the you-know-what out of that!!
Gordon from Dallas

RM: A lot of people have said for years they thought Marco would benefit from going somewhere else but it’s not that easy because where would he go? I think Richmond has a shot, maybe Gateway, no chance for Nashville. Five hundred miles at Texas [ABOVE]? Not sure anyone would finish.

Q: Glad to see you mention IndyCar has a shot at a race at COTA. IndyCar should make every effort to get on the bill at the F1 GP. IndyCar doesn’t present a threat to F1 like it did in the ’90s, and there is very little track action that weekend (no GP2) when F1 is off track. A Saturday race after F1 qualy could take place @ 2 – 4 PM. and give IndyCar some desperately needed international exposure.
Thanks for the soapbox.
K. ONeil, Geneva IL

RM: I mentioned because I want to see IndyCar race there but I can’t imagine Bernie embracing the idea – especially sharing the bill. Could he put the kibosh on IndyCar going there? Probably. That’s why Mexico City might be tough to pull off.

Q: In your opinion, what was a more dominating win for RHR. Milwaukee 2004 where he led every lap, or this Sunday where he passed the entire field a dozen times?
Bill, West Palm Beach, FL

RM: Last Sunday because it was a much deeper, tougher field.

Q: My only comment is Castro Numb-Nuts should have been penalized for his piss-poor attempts at starting the Pocono race. As a professional that was ridiculous.
Pat Kleibor/Franklin, Wisconsin

RM: I’m glad Race Control waved it off and after the second time he should have been sent to the rear.

Q: I know this is the million dollar question, but can IndyCar as a series survive past the 100th running of Indy? With the loss of Fontana and its poor attendance this year and the situation at Andretti, are the chips finally falling and signaling the end or a total revamp? I understand the case with Andretti Autosport and the Andretti promotion company is not totally clear but Michael sure moved quickly to settle the issue and get the financial rumors out of the news. If he was as financially viable and powerful as he originally stated, why wouldn’t he put up a fight with his now ex-partners?
Jon Pytynia, Pensacola, FL

RM: It’s all dependent on sponsorship, series and team, and it’s way too early to say but putting all its eggs in the 100th Indy 500 basket could be a detriment to the series. And three guys own half the field with only one new owner on the horizon so it’s fragile to say the least. I doubt if Michael wanted his financial records to be public knowledge.


Q: I would very much like for IndyCar to return to MIS [ABOVE]. I think it would be simple for the event to be successful call it the “Drink Michigan beer 500”, invite the car clubs from Michigan for a car show, invite the brewers to put on a beer festival, invite musicians from all over the state to play in the IndyCar village over the weekend, and lets invite the drifters to put on some drifting in the infield. If it has a festival feel to it Michigan people come out in droves. Throw in some running events too. How is 2016 shaping up other than what has been confirmed? It’d be nice if we could go back to Nashville.
CJ Shoemaker, Kalamazoo, Mi

RM: With Jay Frye opening up the lines of communication with ISC & NASCAR it could be possible, but not likely as long as Belle Isle is on the schedule. Lots of questions marks still remain for 2016 but Nashville isn’t even in the discussion.

Q: I believe it’s time for ABC to have an ultimatum delivered by IndyCar to them – either drop the stipulation that NBC cannot broadcast IndyCar on the standard NBC or take a hike for 2016. There are plenty of other TV networks that will fill the void of ABC (Plus I would really like to see you covering the Indy 500 on live TV in the pits) & I guarantee the Indy 500 will see much better numbers on NBC then ABC because they will actually promote an event like that.
Shawn from Sacramento California

RM: Mark Miles is working on that and it would be huge for IndyCar to get a couple of races on NBC (but it won’t be Indy because ABC’s contract runs through 2018).

Q: I am enjoying the cross-promotion that NBCSN has been doing now that IndyCar, F1 and NASCAR are all in the same spot. Having the F1 crew chip in from time to time during the IndyCar broadcasts is particularly good. You have previously discussed the benefit to IndyCar anecdotally, but I am wondering if there is viewership data that you can go over that might show the tangible impact of having the three major series on the same network.
Joe Moody

RM: I can only say that since NASCAR started on NBCSN, IndyCar’s ratings are up noticeably so it’s certainly helped, just as we all hoped it would.

Q: Although I think it is a good thing to have a race in Boston, I am not excited about a street course being the final race. I was wondering if Pocono would be a good choice to end the season in mid September? The weather is still probably decent and a 500-mile race is far more exciting than a crash up derby, street course. Please tell me that Pocono or another option is being considered to end the season? Thank you and the rest of the NBCSN crew for another great season of covering my favorite sport.
Brian, Joliet, Illinois

RM: I think the tentative plan is to try and end 2016 in mid-September at Sonoma but I imagine Pocono could be an option. If it’s back on the schedule.

Q: Enjoyed your column remembering Mark Donohue. I remember watching Mark race Trans-Am cars in the late ’60s and early ’70s. He was fast in anything he drove and in my opinion was easily the equal of A. J. Foyt or Parnelli Jones. The Porsche 917-30 Can-Am car that he drove was probably one of the most intimidating racecars ever built. Michael Argetsinger’s book about Donohue was the best racing journal I have ever read and I’ve read a few!
Dave Nicholls, Whitby, Ontario

RM: Thanks. I didn’t know Mark very well but I certainly admired his ability, smarts and savvy. Talking to him that night in 1974 at the bar was the longest conversation we ever had but I’m glad I sat down.

Q: I saw you stated that Danica was NOT going to re-sign with SHR…at least twice! And when Gene Haas (who understands that sponsors spend money on advertising to sell product), said that SHR (Haas’s money) wanted her back…I thought you might recant…but NOOOOO!! And she signs with a NEW sponsor, and she NEVER looked to go anywhere else! And she is signed for MULTI-YEARS…..and she gets paid…and Tony gets paid…and not by SOCIALIZED payments……Unlike INDYCAR where drivers drive for peanuts except for a few. How would you like your crow served?
Terrible Ted

RM: I prefer my crow well done and butterflied with ketchup.
 

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