Robin Miller's Mailbag for April 18, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Robin Miller's Mailbag for April 18, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Insights & Analysis

Robin Miller's Mailbag for April 18, presented by Honda Racing / HPD


Photo by Phillip Abbott / LAT Images

Q: I think IndyCar fans were robbed of another exciting race, and result and an exciting driver’s possible challenge to the eventual winner Rossi because of an ill-timed caution. I’m talking about how Sebastian Bourdais’s race went from good to bad to ugly due to an ill-timed caution coming out at the wrong time, and through no fault of his own he got penalized because of the closed pits rule.

I don’t understand why and how IndyCar is resistant to change a possible kink in the way the race operation is run. It’s too high a price to pay for a team that could be doing everything right, and a driver driving his heart out, to get penalized by the freak timing of a yellow. And please don’t tell me it is what it is. In this day and age, things can be figured out easily with cheap technology. How about getting the drivers to hold a predetermined safe speed on track as soon as yellow is thrown, but keep the pits open? Very simple. I hope other fans are demanding this.

Shyam C.

RM: A Virtual Safety Car like F1 uses has been discussed, as well as leaving the pits open at all times, but you really can’t have the drivers in charge of the speed limit. As for winning the race, Bourdais had this to say afterwards when asked if he had anything for Rossi after moving into second place before being hosed by the caution: “No, he was on another planet.”

Q: There has to be some alternative to the closed pits rule during yellows. I understand why they are closed to avoid people rushing round the track to get into the pit, but could there be a third option like limiting drivers to 100mph or some other speed for the first lap of yellow?

Victor, New Haven, CT

RM: The two alternatives are leaving the pits open, or trying the Virtual Safety Car.

Q: Best Long Beach race in quite some time! Bourdais on Lap 48 was awesome, passing three cars at once! He was the car to watch all day. It was good to see Power finish a race this year and challenge Rossi at the end. Your thoughts?

TJ Spitzmiller, Bradenton, FL

RM: I’ve been to every LBGP except the first one, and this had more passing and action than 90 percent of them. Plus it had a close finish, even though Rossi never looked pressured. This new aero kit races really well on street circuits, so hopefully it will continue this weekend in Alabama.

Q: For years, many of us had hoped for an Andretti/Rahal rivalry to materialize and give a little bit of natural drama to boost the sport. Unfortunately though, Marco had struggled for the past several years, and only in the last three has Graham become a contender for wins. However, Rossi and Newgarden have easily been the top drivers since the end of last year, and consistently been able to compete and win against Scott Dixon and Will Power. Do you feel they could be the big American vs American rivalry that the series has been waiting for to develop?

Alan Bandi, Butler, PA

RM: I don’t know that Rossi and Newgarden have the combative personalities to fuel a good rivalry, or at least the kind fans and media want to see. But obviously they could be battling for championships for years to come – maybe even as teammates some day?

Q: I’m sick and tired of watching the half-assed starts at Long Beach. Awful, embarrassing… words can’t describe seeing the starting field strung out two or three turns before the flag drops! The excuses from IndyCar are bull! It’s time to move the starting line closer to the first turn (yes, the cars have less time to get in single file) or have standing starts, (but the drivers don’t have the skill or high-tech line brakes, or whatever the excuse). How many more years before IndyCar fixes this mess?

Donald McElvain, Polson, Montana

RM: I couldn’t agree more, it’s a travesty for the paying customers, as well as the competitors. That’s why a standing start makes so much sense at a place like Long Beach, and Champ Car pulled it off just fine. It puts everyone on the same stretch of pavement and reduces the speeds heading into Turn 1, which gives everyone a chance to make it.