Q: While realizing that Carlin is a first-year IndyCar team, they do have a reputation for winning everywhere they have raced. Besides gaining experience on this circuit and recruiting more personnel with IndyCar experience, is there anything else Carlin can do to be more competitive?
Todd J. Burnworth, Fort Wayne, IN
RM: It’s a steep learning curve, and walking into one of the toughest racing environments isn’t easy even with Trevor’s experience. But like I wrote a couple weeks ago, give him a couple years and he’ll be competitive.
Q: I greatly thank you for pulling back the curtain and shedding some light on the paltry income earned by today’s IndyCar drivers, especially when compared and contrasted with what the top-flight NASCAR and F1 drivers bring down each season. Now that you have extrapolated some pretty plausible figures, since we all know that IndyCar keeps the true financial picture a closely guarded secret, you can tell by the caustic and hateful comments beneath your article that most if not all of the IndyCar nation could care less about earnings and seem resentful that the likes of Dixie and even Rahal earn as much as they do, even if said earnings fall far below what their compatriots in the other series bring in. Like Taylor Swift says, haters gonna hate, and perhaps our legion of loyal IndyCar followers is not ready to face the fact that this series lags so far behind its competition in almost every metric, especially in the way IndyCar compensates its brave and fearless drivers.
Neil Rubin, Miami Beach, FL
RM: I seldom read those comments because half the time they’re arguing about something other than the story and then it becomes a personal pissing contest. If anybody is critical of what Scott Dixon earns then they are truly clueless and should find another sport to hate. I wrote that commentary to illustrate the disparity of IndyCar salaries and payouts compared to NASCAR and F1 and it wasn’t anything surprising, it just hit home in black and white figures. I got a letter from some clown who said I wrote the story just so I could mention Conor Daly. Really? The guy borrows money to compete at Indy and that’s not enough of a commitment to show how much he wants to do it? Or driving for free for a season to stay on the radar? Like I wrote, some IndyCar drivers make a nice living and nobody makes them race but considering the risks vs. rewards, it’s not a lucrative profession anymore compared to several years ago, or to the other two series.
Q: After seeing Hinch’s great win at Iowa this weekend, along with the Inside Indy program, I got to wondering about options for Bump Day at Indy. You hate to see traditions go away (like Milwaukee after Indy) and as mentioned a number of times in both programs, Bump Day is just that – you’re either in, or not. So bearing in mind the importance of sponsors and the support they provide, could the sponsors of any bumped cars be “compensated”? Every year the pit stalls get painted on pit wall. Why not take care of sponsors of bumped cars on the walls of the track? The Bump Day tradition stays intact and the sponsors of bumped cars still get airtime as the cameras cover the race. I thought this might be a good compromise. Any thoughts?
Bill Vincent IV
RM: I think SPM was compensated with its Leader’s Circle money for making an attempt, but the sponsors are a slippery slope. I like selling space on the IMS walls if the money goes into that paltry purse, but if you had 40 cars, where do you draw the line at which sponsors get space? I like your logic of taking care of sponsors, but being on a car that makes the race is probably the easiest solution.
Q: Super-excited to see Hinch win at Iowa! Almost had a SPM (and Canadian) double-podium. I heard you mention Sanair (jokingly) in your post-race interview with Hinch. I’d love to see IndyCar back there. I remember Uncle Jacques running out of talent there in ’85. Sadly, it appears they are closing the facilities there. Urban areas getting too close. What about Jukasa Speedway? Formerly Cayuga, it’s a 5/8 mile track that just re-opened, and it’s got fresh pavement and an ownership team that’s pumped a lot of money into it. Sounds like a perfect fit for another race north of the border, and another oval to boot!
RM: I’ve heard of Cayuga, and anything to get another race in Canada would be great. How about Oswego? The Bentley Warren 250 has a nice ring to it. Someone suggested IRP (Lucas Raceway) last week and I said we didn’t need three races in Indianapolis, but maybe if it could be as good as Iowa…
Q: If I wanted to sponsor the Cleveland Grand Prix so it came back, how much would my check, made out to Mike Lanigan need to be for?
Mark in Cincinnati
RM: I’d start with $7 million and have a couple more in reserve, but instead of spending your own money just win the lottery and go find Mike a sponsor like Shell and he’ll come running. Budweiser was the title sponsor in the heyday of Burke Lakefront Airport, but you cannot have a chance to break even unless you have a good partner. Jonathan Bommarito is a godsend for Gateway, but a rarity.