Robin Miller's Mailbag for July 11, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Robin Miller's Mailbag for July 11, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Insights & Analysis

Robin Miller's Mailbag for July 11, presented by Honda Racing / HPD


Checkers – and yellows – greet James Hinchcliffe at the Iowa finish line. Image by IndyCar

Q: Apparently there’s an uproar on social media after the IndyCar race ended under yellow. I’ve been watching racing since the ’70s so it really doesn’t bother me, but people seem determined to complain about this. I do not like the artificial lengthening of races that NASCAR does in order to try and find a green flag finish, but I do think this can be solved easily. Just make all the races X number of green flag miles. Advertise it that way as a positive and not a negative! Sure, that makes fuel mileage a possible concern, but everyone’s in the same boat. Every short track in the country doesn’t count caution laps on Saturday night for the most part, which is why their races always end under green. I see no reason why you can’t make this simple change to retain the heritage of the short tracks, retain a similar length of event, and make everyone happy in the process. You can clean up debris, do wave-arounds, and sweep the marbles until the cows come home. Great race though, regardless of the moaning. A waving yellow and checker shouldn’t take away from what was a stellar event.

Dave Long, Reading, PA

RM: I was pissed off it took so long so clean up debris until I ran into Sarah Fisher (who was driving the pace car) and she said it looked like a minefield, so that made things more understandable. To your point, I think more people were happy with the quality of that race than were mad it finished under caution. And half of those social media experts never buy a ticket anyway.

Q: I want your opinion on the finish of the race Sunday. IndyCar was obviously trying to make an attempt at getting the race green again, otherwise I see no other reason why they would open the pits with a few laps to go and hose a couple people out of their podium runs. I also believe they realized with two laps to go they were out of time, but didn’t want to start making up rules and go to a green-white-checkered finish (‘overtime’). However, that being said, as much as I love the purity of going the scheduled distance, is it time to start having even just one attempt at a green-white-checkered after Sunday’s example, and if not, would it be right for IndyCar to give everyone their positions back that pitted?

Jeremy, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

RM: I think you described exactly what happened. They wanted to go green but ran out of time, and Penske, SPM and RLL took a shot that it was going to happen. But IndyCar might look at changing the way it finishes in similar circumstances and do away with the wave-around, because that would save two laps at Iowa. And that was the other issue. Iowa is so small that even at 60mph behind the pace car it doesn’t take long to make a lap. But I don’t think you can penalize the teams that stayed out and give the other guys their position back.

Q: I live in southern Minnesota and have attended the Iowa race several times. This year, I bought my tickets late last week and the Ticketmaster website showed the track as a near-sellout. Attending the race, the crowd was much smaller. Do you have any idea why this would be? Do the sponsors take blocks of tickets that may or may not be used? This is not the first time this has happened.

Joe Weidt

RM: It’s an old promoter’s line of having “a few good tickets left,” that Ticketmaster evidently uses. I thought the crowd was better than it’s been the past couple years, but obviously not close to a sellout.

Q: Just heading back from Iowa and wanted to get your take on a few things. First, did you think attendance was up over last year? Second, I heard a lot of grumbling after the race regarding ending it under caution. Was there ever a chance it was going to finish under green? I get why IndyCar does it like this, but I’m sure it turns off some of the more casual fans.

Tate in Kansas

RM: Yes, I thought it was the best non-Saturday night crowd they’ve had, so I’m optimistic next year will be even better. I’ve seen bad Indy 500s end under the yellow but this was such a great race for 90 minutes that I hope it didn’t cost IndyCar any fans through not being able to finish under green. But as you’ve read above, they tried under the current protocol, they just ran out of laps.