Robin Miller's Mailbag for February 28, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Robin Miller's Mailbag for February 28, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

IndyCar

Robin Miller's Mailbag for February 28, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

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Welcome to the Robin Miller Mailbag presented by Honda Racing / HPD. You can follow the Santa Clarita, California-based company at: 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.

Q: Excellent story on RACER.com regarding “spitting in the face of tradition.” I’m 62 and grew up in the ’60s. My whole obsession with racing was born from the exploits of Jimmy Clark, many/most of those exploits took place at Indy. A large part of this interest was fueled by the fact that IMS did an outstanding job documenting the history of the 500 and there was a time that I could tell you the name of every 500 winner from 1911 on. The Speedway and 500 stand alone and certainly NASCAR and F1 have added nothing to the heritage and tradition that already existed. You might argue it may have watered it down as the track does not suit “stock” cars and the F1 doesn’t get it (racing) anymore.

Mark Kidson, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

RM: I don’t think there’s any doubt that IMS has too many events and that’s diluted the appeal of the month of May but as much as a lot of us hated it, bringing in NASCAR in 1994 was a good business move by Tony George. And there’s already one NASCAR star in the IMS HOF – Paul Goldsmith, who started on motorcycles, went to NASCAR and then moved to Indy cars (where AJ called him one of the most underrated drivers he competed against). Let Kurt Busch back up his Indy 500 debut with another good showing or two and he’ll be more than welcome into the HOF.

Q: During the Phoenix test Josef posted a photo of his driver’s suit having a patch that said “champion” and a star on his chest. Then later it was moved to the sleeve. I looked in other photos, and didn’t see one on Bourdais, Kanaan, RHR, Pagenaud, Power or Dixon. Is this just going to be a reigning champ only thing or are all champions going to get one? I wish they’d make a prominent (looking and placement) patch for series and Indy champions. That’s a simple, cheap thing that can add a little visibility if their photo is displayed.

Kyle, Milwaukee

RM: JoNew isn’t sure; he believes it’s something new this season for the defending champion so we’ll have to ask Team Penske when we get to St. Pete.

Q: My three favorite IndyCar drivers are JR Hildebrand, Sage Karam and Conor Daly. With all of the positive momentum in recent months, what is Mark Miles’ defense for why IndyCar won’t invest in young American talent? Even if it’s directing sponsors or providing sponsor recruitment services.

Bill R. Loudonville, OH

RM: I believe IndyCar would help all three (financially) get a ride for Indianapolis if there were a car shortage (and I’m sure Danica got some help going to Ed Carpenter’s team) like in previous Mays, but no chance of subsidizing a season. It’s not in their budget and not on the bottom line. Be nice to have a little kitty set aside to help these guys but not likely given IndyCar’s financial challenges.

Q: Tell me that Indianapolis Motor Speedway is really going to include NASCAR, F1 and MotoGP into the Hall of Fame? If they do that then they are truly spitting in the face of IndyCar fans and drivers in the past that put their lives on the line to qualify during the month of May. It’s really is an insult to drivers like the Bettenhausen family Tony Sr., Tony Jr., Gary along with Roger McClustey, Lloyd Ruby, Dan Gurney Jim McElreath and Mike Mosley.

Alistair Fannell

RM: No MotoGP or Air racers (yet), just NASCAR and F1. Tony B., Gurney, McElreath, McCluskey and Rube have already been inducted but I would hope Gary B. and Mose are added soon.

Q: The MRTI is proven through its historic success as the best ladder program for young drivers to move into the highest racing categories. Yet here we are in February 2018 looking at only nine cars in the Indy Lights championship getting ready for the new season. Pro Mazda is at 13 and USF 2000 at 21. Indy Lights’ equivalent GP2 has a full grid (20) as do most other premier motor racing championships. IndyCar needs a full and vibrant junior feeder series to cement the fact that it’s the most competitive Open Wheel Championship. How do we attract more drivers to Indy Lights?

Oliver Wells

RM: Good question. Like most of its open-wheel brethren, Lights is pretty pricey and offers modest purses so you’ve got to be well-oiled to play. As you’ve seen, the majority of the ladder drivers are coming from outside the USA because it’s affordable compared to Europe. Losing Carlin and a trio of drivers to IndyCar hurt the Lights lineup so it figures to be a short field in 2018.

Q: Just finished listening to Marshall’s interview with Mark Miles concerning the TV negotiations. It was troubling to hear him keep referring to ESPN/ABC/Disney. I realize he won’t make a decision based on fan input, but with the ratings being what they are, the thought of all the races being tied to ABC really depressed me. He may have just been using them as an example, but I believe he only mentioned NBC once. I guess I’d like to hear how you interpreted the comments. Glad you are on the mend. You really add to the fan experience.

Vincent Martinez, San Gabriel, CA

RM: I don’t read much into it but maybe that’s because I’m still naive at 68. I think Miles knows who his best partner would be and the fans overwhelmingly favor NBC but I also think its showing respect to ABC for all its years of service. And it needs to look like there’s competition, maybe even if there really isn’t.


Q: I have read the different posts to the mailbag regarding Daly/Rossi being on “The Amazing Race” and no commercials exposing them to the masses and the fact that Daly doesn’t even have a ride for the upcoming season, yet he is called an IndyCar driver. He is an IndyCar driver and should have a ride. Anyway, so, the reason for no commercials is because the powers that be say they can’t afford commercials to help promote these guys and, in turn, IndyCar? Well screw ‘em then. If they want to continue having the best racing in the world go unseen and not have anyone care, then fine. Keep barely hanging on until it’s gone and Formula E takes over. I’m sick and tired of my favorite sport being a blip on the sports scene yet nothing is ever done to try and rectify it.

Josh R., Salem, OR

RM: Not sure how much a 30-second or 60-second commercial during prime time costs during “The Amazing Race” and you’ve got a captive audience that knows a couple of these guys drive race cars but there is nothing in the show that identifies them with IndyCar (other than the first show) so what better way to educate the public? It would be money well spent, certainly much more effective than running ads in The Indianapolis Star and putting up billboards around Indianapolis. We know what happens here in Indy during May so promote the race in the Midwest.

Q: Who gets to vote for the Museum’s Hall of Fame? The idea of having some NASCAR or F1 notable in the HOF, with no Jim Hurtubise in the Hall or on the ballot is, as you said, shameful. And stupid. My suggestion is a write in campaign for Jim. If voters have any sense of Indy’s history and traditions they will write in the name of one of the all-time greats, take a pic of what they send in, and dare IMS to ignore it. I would like to see the IMS staff explain why Jim should not be in, although sadly most of them probably do not know of his greatness. Nobody with the possible exception of AJ cared more about the 500 than Herk and blocking him from consideration is petty and small. Good lord the man could still wheel a car after his hands were literally burned to the bone.

Andrew S. Belknap, Las Vegas

RM: The voting panel is comprised of historians, media, members of the racing fraternity and Hall of Famers still alive. But I’d venture to say there might be a few that vote who don’t know anything about Jim Hurtubise. It’s very small-minded to think he’s not been on any ballot and it stems from his protest in 1978 (he was right you know, there was no special qualifying sticker like Tom Binford claimed). Herk thrilled fans, sold tickets and had no peer in popularity so his absence from the HOF is criminal. But a lot of us write him in every year and I’m sure nobody even notices.

Q: Regarding your IMS Hall of Fame column, I usually share your outrage, but I just can’t get worked up over this. Frankly, I didn’t even know the Hall of Fame still inducted people. I know the Museum is a decent museum (could be a lot better but that’s another letter), but the HOF is an afterthought with a few plaques on a wall. However, could this announcement be a prelude to making the HOF a real thing, with a real induction ceremony involving the actual honorees? That would bring in precious dollars and attention – see the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which does it right. And obviously Canton and Cooperstown.

In all the other major sports, the arguments about who should be in and who shouldn’t be in a Hall of Fame make for great banter from barrooms to slow days on sports talk radio – and the IMS Hall of Fame doesn’t get ANY of that bonus (not to mention free) publicity. And the only way to get that now is to open it up to anyone who has competed there, because arguments about Herk (though very valid) won’t resonate with the younger generations. But how about Dale Jarrett, who won the Brickyard when it was a big deal and created perhaps the most recognizable tradition IMS has today? That’s a fun discussion, and that’s what the Hall needs to have any relevance whatsoever.

John S., Indianapolis

RM: The IMS Hall of Fame has an annual dinner in May to recognize new members and I reckon they added NASCAR to try and sell a few more tables when Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart are inducted. I get what you’re saying about making it a bigger deal but it still doesn’t preclude adding NASCAR and F1 to a place they don’t belong. And I wish the next Indy 500 winner would do something besides kiss the bricks, but thankfully milk in Victory Lane remains Indy’s signature moment.

Q: Seriously Miller, Bob Harkey is a better story at the Speedway than NASCAR. Gordon might have a closet full of hundreds, but he doesn’t have the one thing he wanted more in life than anything. Taking the checker in the Brickyard 400 is only noteworthy to the extent you were able to stay awake. That track was built for one race…we were so lucky to have lived the 30 days of May.

Don Hermansen

RM: I could never convince Hark that he had a special place in IMS history because he could throw a car in at the last minute when it really meant something to make the show. Gordon could have won Indy had he be given the opportunity so he made the best out of his situation. But the tradition that made IMS special came from 100 years of blood, sweat and tears and has nothing to do with stock cars or Formula 1.


Q: I read an article this week that detailed the author’s view on the 10-year anniversary of the unification of American open-wheel racing. In the article, Paul Newman was quoted as saying that unification was needed, that he was glad it happened, and that he had many fond memories of the Indy 500. So, if that was the case, why did Paul Newman not follow Penske, Ganassi, et al. in moving full-time into IndyCar sooner? Was it the disparity in technology among the two series, was it something personal against Tony George, or was it something else?

Did the drivers in each series respect the drivers in the other series and simply feel as though they were all caught in the middle or did they feel as though there was a rivalry between the drivers in the two series? Did drivers like Dario, Dixon, Kanaan feel that they were in inferior equipment in the IRL and just happy to have a ride & making decent money or did they secretly long for cars like the Lola & Reynard that was used in Champ Car? Lastly, did the drivers in Champ Car see the writing on the wall and know the end was near in the last few years running up to unification?

James Jackson, Livonia, MI

RM: Paul was always very skeptical that Tony George had any kind of vision and he and partner Carl Haas stayed loyal to CART/Champ Car to the very end (along with Gerald Forsythe). Even when everyone started jumping ship, they spent their own money and refused to be part of the IRL. Was it personal? Damn right it was. I’m privy to a letter PLN sent TG and let’s just say it wasn’t real friendly. The drivers on both sides simply went where they were paid, but the trio you mentioned played the game even though they missed the CART cars/engines and road racing those first couple years. I don’t think anyone pretended to know what the outcome of The Split was going to be but it was obvious TG had most of the big dogs, Honda and Indy, so it was only a matter of time. But, to his credit, George bought equipment for the Champ Car teams and put things back together and I believe it was the last big check he wrote before being ousted.

Q: At this time, it appears that there are only seven confirmed drivers for Indy Lights in 2018. Do you think there will be others and if so, who and with whom?

David, Waxhaw, NC

RM: We’re up to nine. Passed your question on to Andersen Promotions. Here’s their response: “We do expect more drivers to be announced prior to St. Petersburg. At this stage, we do not anticipate the number of cars to reach the level we had last year with Carlin taking a year’s hiatus to focus on its new IndyCar program and additional drivers graduating to IndyCar (Matheus Leist, Zachary Claman De Melo) alongside 2017 champion Kyle Kaiser. Several teams in the USF2000 and Pro Mazda ranks have already expressed an interest in running Indy Lights programs in 2019 and, with the return of Carlin, we are looking forward to an increased field size next year.”

Q: I’ve been a motocross fan for as long as I can remember, and it seems that each year for the Atlanta Supercross, they bring in NASCAR drivers for some sort of cross promotion. I’m not sure how much it helps, but I’m curious if the idea has ever been floated to bring IndyCar drivers to the Indianapolis Supercross? Seems like a logical step since Indy is the racing capital of the world, plus a little exposure couldn’t hurt. Second, I remember Hinch mentioning that he’d like to run NASCAR at some point. Was this just a negotiation tactic or does he really have those type of aspirations? If so, is that just a racer wanting to experience everything there is? Or something else at play?

Ben Parker

RM: Not a bad idea but I wouldn’t waste bringing drivers to Indianapolis for the Supercross, I’d take them to Houston, Oakland, St. Louis and Dallas where people don’t know them and give away hats and tickets to promote the IndyCar races in their area. I think a lot of IndyCar guys would like to try a stock car in the right situation and hopefully drive anything with four wheels given the opportunity. Josef Newgarden went ice racing over the weekend and that’s great preparation for next year’s Chili Bowl.

Q: I have always appreciated IndyCar signing up and finding new races to add to the season. I have always wondered why IndyCar put the Grand Prix of Indianapolis during the same month as the 500? I feel that the attendance is always really low and that the Speedway loses money on this race. The best way to market the Grand Prix of Indianapolis would be to make it the last race of the season. Just imagine, IndyCar comes back to the one of the greatest racetracks in America where there are several drivers fighting for the Championship.

Kyle Grubb, IN

RM: I hated to see May watered down with a road course race but there was a method to Mark Miles’ madness and that was another race on ABC to help promote qualifying and the Indianapolis 500. And even though the attendance keeps going down, it’s still a better crowd than Pole Day ever drew from 1996 on. But I want the season finale to be on an oval like Gateway, in the Midwest, where IndyCar’s fan base resides. The last race needs a good crowd, an atmosphere and a chance to have something dramatic on track and I don’t think you’d get any of those at IMS in September.


Q: Am I the only one who could hardly contain my laughter about Toto Wolff’s comments about the new F1 Halo? “I’m not impressed with the whole thing and if you give me a chainsaw I would take it off. I think we need to look after the drivers’ safety but what we have implemented is aesthetically not appealing.” Really? Every single car in Formula 1 for the last 20 years with all the multiple winglets, vortex generators, curves, bent wings, and those ridiculous hoop thingies they mounted on the back of the cowling the last couple years…..and the halo is what you single out as aesthetically ‘not appealing’? The clown cars that are F1 today are the result of your own making, Toto. If he’s going to take a chainsaw to something, don’t stop at the Halo. Just chop the whole thing up and at least TRY to come up with something that looks like a respectable race car.

Brad Haskin, Seattle, WA

RM: This past week’s unveiling of the new F1 cars was pretty underwhelming (especially Ferrari) but to single out the Halo as the eyesore is pretty humorous.  

Q: Last week, Mike in Chicago asked about the ideal “new oval,” and you’re right, there is no such thing without also defining the car. Some candidates, in descending order of raciness: Michigan or Fontana with the Hanford device cars. Indy with the current car. Milwaukee with any of the early ’90s cars. What are some other great track/car combinations of years past?

Chris, San Francisco

RM: Phoenix and Trenton in the 1960s and 1970s were both racy, with roadsters and rear-engine cars, along with all the mile dirt tracks like DuQuoin, Springfield, Sacramento and Indianapolis.

Q: This isn’t necessarily a question, but more of a conclusion from someone who has been at IMS every year since 1985. I am now 44 years old, so I guess the majority of my life. I often sit in Stand E during qualifying, look off into the distance, and envision memories. Memories that make my heart warm like The Rocket pushing the absolute envelope in a beautiful Z-7 Special on Pole Day, Big Al taking his fourth checkered, and even the trucks trying to dry the damn track in the late eighties when you would sit all weekend just hoping to see someone make a qualifying run. The cars and drivers were so exciting then that you would literally freeze your ass off and be soaked to the bone, but wouldn’t even think about leaving. Would anyone do that now?

It doesn’t matter how many gimmicks IMS creates, like concerts, tiny houses, two qualifying days (still can’t figure out the point of Saturday), or $9 tenderloins; the fact of the matter is that there are fewer and fewer “characters.” Those “characters” are what made IMS and without another generation the on-track product will need all sorts of gimmicks to attract paying customers. Let’s face it, I am not sure the new generation could handle A.J.’s matter-of-fact demeanor or Emmo and Little Al touching wheels in Turn 3 anyway. They probably would consider them bullies. Maybe “characters” is what IMS is lacking. Maybe they are there, but no one cares to promote a personality when you can talk about the latest EDM artist.

Chad McClaskey

RM: My biggest complaint is that IndyCar doesn’t promote the drivers enough and IMS spends more time promoting concerts, camping and Christmas trees than it does the product that made it famous. And there’s little doubt that the absence of innovation the past 20 years has removed another reason to get excited about May. But there are some characters (Hinch, JoNew, T.K.) who the American public would embrace if they got to know them.

Q: Another wonderful article on Bentley Warren, one of the forgotten racers. After reading the story I forwarded it to Chris Vatis, one of Tassi Vatis’ sons. Four years ago I bought some tickets on Ebay from Chris, Sec B right across the isle from The famed E Sec. Great seats the family has held onto thru the years. After buying the tickets I asked Chris about the seats and then he told me the story about his dad. Every year since I have bought the tickets. Chris has had health problems but is hoping to come this year’s race. We have developed a friendship given our love of IndyCar. So you’re wondering what the hell is my point? Well it’s all the damn great articles and videos you come up with and remind us what Indy used to be about. Just average Joe’s coming to Indy with a hope and a dream much like yourself. I don’t think the Unser family would even been let into the gates any longer. That’s a sad thought.  

Earl Wieland

RM: Glad you enjoyed the BW video because it really didn’t do justice to what a free-spirited badass he was in an era where anything was possible. And the great thing about Bentley is that instead of bemoaning his luck, he was always grateful he even got a chance to race at Indianapolis. And it’s the guys like him, Phil Krueger, Ted Prappas, Jerry Sneva, Tom Bigelow, Eldon Rasmussen and Rich Vogler that always made qualifying so dramatic and memorable.


Q: If more than 33 cars are available for this year’s Indy 500, wouldn’t it be in the best interest of the sport’s long-term health to run all of the cars?

Greg Short, Indianapolis, IN

RM: If there are only 34 or 35, yes it would because it’s damn difficult to come up with a budget and the one-offs are going to lose money since they’re all running for $200,000. Indy has started 35 before (1979 and 1997) so it’s not like tradition would be trampled.

Q: An observation/question on NASCAR. Aas a race fan, try and watch NASCAR races, particularly the superspeedways, but am somewhat confused/dismayed by the way the races often play out. Time and time again a leading driver is punted out of the way into the wall and the punter ends up winning the race….beyond being very dangerous how can this be regarded as just normal ‘racin’? I would have to think if this kind of thing happened in open wheel racing there would be some kind of penalty involved?

Mark Kidson, Toronto

RM: The bump and run was perfected by Earnhardt and some of his brethren but mostly at short tracks. What happened at Daytona isn’t racing. Slamming into the leader and knocking him into the wall (no caution was ever thrown, did you notice?) takes zero talent and its too bad Aric Amirola chose to be a pacifist because he had every right to go deck that little punk. But because it was the #3 car and 20 years later, everything was OK and right with the world and isn’t it great, blah, blah, blah. It’s not racing, it’s contrived entertainment that rules with no consistency.

Q: Help me out. I wasn’t alive in 1982 but countless times I’ve heard Rick Mears took some criticism for the last lap not passing Johncock in Turn 1. Before the last pit stop Mears and Johncock were dueling but Mears didn’t seem to have the speed at the end of the straightaways to get by Johncock, He tried countless times but couldn’t get it done. So why do you think some in the media were critical of Mears for not getting by Gordy on the last lap in Turn 1 when it looked like Mears didn’t have the top end speed?

Ryan McKeever

RM: The only criticism I ever heard came from Rick himself, who wished he’d have waited later on the last lap to show his hand. Johncock had a massive lead with 10 laps left but lost it all because his Wildcat picked up a severe push and Mears had the fastest car all month and was reeling him in. When he Rocket tried going inside on the white flag lap (of course we missed it because ABC was showing Dina Mears on the scoring stand), Gordy never lifted and Rick lost the front end and damn near hit the wall. Had he waited until Turn 4, I’m sure he’d have slingshotted past to win. Johncock said as much afterwards and Mears was a class act in defeat, but I don’t recall anyone criticizing him in the media.

Q: Perhaps this is not one for publication in the mailbag but I wanted to reach out to you for some perspective. With the discussion about improved safety measures, windscreens vs halos, etc I decided to look up a list of fatalities for IndyCar racers. I understand that racing is a cruel sport and racers and crew members risk their lives for our entertainment. What made 1959 so cruel? Nine fatalities seem to be the most in a single season. What made ’73-’82 and ’83-’92 so safe? With the increased speeds between ’73-’82 I would have thought the racing would have been more dangerous. Thank you as always for sharing your passion and knowledge.

David Kells

RM: Pretty simple. In 1959 there were no fuel cells, roadsters hit concrete walls, drivers had little protection and dirt tracks like Langhorne were lethal. But gradually racing became safer as USAC and CART learned from the crashes and it’s continued to evolve with IndyCar.

Q: Not sure if you waste your time watching the NASCAR races and how they “spin” everything as the best racing in the world. It took over an hour to complete the last 10 laps because they could not get through one lap without crashing into each other. World class? Hardly. The Daytona 500 was better but it’s still laps and laps of boring racing interrupted by “stage” cautions and crashes.

They also kept saying “Danica is the most successful female driver ever to race in NASCAR.” Really? OK, she had one pole and no other woman did that but they’re spinning like she actually accomplished something. They seem more interested in who she is dating that her actual driving abilities. Also, after she was taken out in a crash Jamie Little said something like “You have one more race to go” and neither she or Danica mentioned the “Indy 500.” Only Darrell Waltrip said she’d be racing in the Indy 500 with Ed Carpenter Racing. I guess I just can’t want for the real racing season to start with no regulated yellow flags, no open ended ending and cars that actually go fast.

Jim Doyle, Hoboken, NJ

RM: First of all, Michael Waltrip wouldn’t know a world-class driver if he was sitting on his lap. And world-class drivers don’t usually crash on the straightaways, which is where 90 percent of the Daytona crashes occur. As for Danica, her reputation was made at Indy and she had some damn good races there and at Texas and Homestead as well, but she galvanizes people and sometimes that clouds their judgment. Is she a great race driver? No. But she’s accomplished more than any female in open wheel or stocks and that cannot be disputed.


Q: Just a quick note. Your article about the IMS HOF allowing non-Indy 500 drivers in is precisely why we read you first every time your column is on Racer.

Mike Talarico, Riverside, Calif., home of NO Raceway whatsoever

RM: Thanks Mike, it created a lot of conversation and the majority wasn’t fond of the HOF additions.

Q: Sports cars are so heavily regulated that it really doesn’t matter what a manufacturer makes or sells, it will be “equal” on the track. Watch an old race. Porsche was reliable, Ferrari was fast, Ford and Chevy made big power, etc. I’m a Ford guy, but really, can a Mustang beat a McLaren on a road course? Races are no longer won by drivers and teams; they are won by accountants and lawyers. Don’t build a better car; lobby for a larger restrictor. In NASCAR everyone is touting another meaningless milestone: the #3 won Daytona 20 years after Dale did. What really happened is a bunch of taxi-cabs drug their rear bumpers on the ground for three hours, then one guy purposely rammed another guy at 196 mph and 200,000 people cheered. That isn’t racing.

My favorite, F1, is probably the worst of them all. The best drivers in the fastest cars racing on the smoothest tracks in the world need a button to pass, and still can’t do it very often. Pretty much anything that excites or entertains the fans is punished or banned (re: Max Verstappen). We have races in countries with horrible human rights records, but grid girls are banned for being offensive and controversial. Teams can spend millions on ridiculous aero attachments but get grid penalties for working on the engine too often. We all like the look of the new Indy car but that, too, is sad in a way. A better looking spec racer is cause for excitement? No. It is a shame that we have spec cars at all. This is the series that allowed a 4-wheel drive car powered by a helicopter engine. Now it allows…different paint schemes.

About the only races I enjoy watching these days are 35+ years old. There wasn’t always a last-lap pass by a car with a famous number on the side, but the racing was real, the competition was real, the cars were real, the passes were real…

John Madsen, Georgetown, IN

RM: It’s a tough argument: Today’s racing is mostly spec but the competition is closer than ever before compared to the Golden Era of the ’60s and ’70s where innovation and bravado held our attention regardless of whether the winner lapped the field. Which is best? I know what made me fall for open wheel racing and it was a combination of the Novi, the speed, the different cars and the heroes behind the wheel who could run dirt or pavement. Today’s drivers are specialists and that’s a shame, because I’d love to see Dixie driving a sprinter, a rally car and a stock car when he had a weekend off. But it ain’t gonna happen, so the best I can offer is watch an old Dick Wallen video while you’re fast-forwarding through the commercials of an IndyCar race. And BTW, Daytona only has 100,000 seats.

Q: I’ve been around Indy since 1958, thank you, those other series were %$&$# groupies sucking up to the real band. As a 70-year-old that knows reality, it’s the Indy 500 HOF.

Pat R.

RM: Even though that’s not the official title, it goes without saying that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IMS Museum are alive and well because of Indy cars and May – nothing else. Well except that $15 million that IMS gets from television for the Brickyard 400.

Q: Make the next IndyCar chassis and bodywork be able to fit a small block Chevy, Ford or the new Coyote LS Chevy or Dodge Hemi in it. Maybe the new-era Little John Buttera would come to the Speedway and try his or her luck. Back when Illmor made smaller engines to be able to make the tub smaller, I knew it was the death of the mid and backfield teams. Or use the 80’s-90’s IMSA GTP sliding scale rule on engine displacement and weight.

Steve Coe

RM: Not sure what direction IndyCar will take with its next engine rules but I doubt if anything changes until they’ve exhausted all options at a third manufacturer for the current formula.

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