Q: I sat in Turn 11, across from Rossi’s pit. He spent a lot of time getting NAPA parts and service, so for him to finish eighth is rather amazing to me. It reminds me of two former CART/ImdyCar drivers that went through a lot of parts at Toronto and Long Beach. They often finished on or atop the podium. I think their initials were M.A. and P.T. He is the real deal.
RM: Yes he is, and I’m just glad that after driving a toilet in F1 he got a chance to show his talent over here. He’s got some of Michael and P.T. in his blood when it comes to running hard and being ruthless.
Q: I’m absolutely thrilled that Harding Racing has thrown CD a lifeline, if only for one race (nothing against Chaves, who is a class act). It seems like Conor’s career has been a series of do or die one-offs (Long Beach, Detroit) mixed in with full seasons in uncompetitive cars. It’s got to be so tough to jump in on a street course with no testing. Let’s hope he shows his gearbox to the Foyt cars. Why isn’t Conor racing in the IMSA enduros with so many of the other IndyCar drivers moonlighting there?
Lee Robie, Cincinnati, OH
RM: Actually it was kind of a mutual lifeline, because Conor needed a ride and Harding needed some money, but again, Daly showed he could produce under the toughest of circumstances. I think Conor wants to be an IndyCar driver as long as possible, or at least chase that full-time goal, and sports cars are more or less a backup plan.
Q: I hope you taped the Toronto race to watch once you got back home. Holy Crap! One hell of a race with an insane set of opening laps. Toronto was the street race we have been waiting for. Banzai moves, rubbing, shoving, drivers competing for the biggest pair of round brass objects. Great work by your NBC Sports team to cover the critical points and replay them to ensure the fans saw it all. But Robin, you have got to get P.T. to take Wickens to a track and teach him the way of the Chrome Horn. I know Canadians are nice (known many of ’em for years) but there is no way Wickens should take that crap from a Frenchman. It is time for the master to teach the apprentice. Any idea on the cost for the weekend? Looked like a number of noses, one rear wing, lots of bent suspension parts. Also, can you give an update on young Herta?
John Balestrieri, Milwaukee, WI
RM: That first lap was about as wild and entertaining as any street course race I can remember, and there was plenty of action all afternoon. These cars race so good on streets and road courses, and the drivers have been doing a good job of racing hard and not taking each other out. I know P.T. has publicly and privately told Wickens to fight back and get aggressive with people, and he will eventually. Lots of wings, tie-rods and suspension pieces, but nothing like the Texas damage a year ago. Colton didn’t need surgery on his thumb, so he was fitted with a brace and will be ready for Mid-Ohio.
Q: If you added up all the on-track passes in Toronto, and compared them to all the on-track passes for all the cars for all the tracks for any F1 season of the past 10 years, I wonder which would be higher?
Mark Lamontia, Landenberg, PA
RM: I think IndyCar’s street course racing this season has been the best ever in terms of being able to race close and hard, and pass people. And the drivers deserve credit for pulling it off. As to your question, I imagine Toronto surpassed (no pun intended) any F1 season in recent history.
Q: What is going on over at DCR with Vasser and Sulli? They started the season off looking somewhat like Newman/Haas, now they look like the old DCR that was a constant backmarker. I can’t imagine that Vasser and Sulli are happy. They seemed to get derailed earlier in the year with some severely questionable pit strategy calls. I vaguely remember Seb being pissed that they weren’t using championship-winning strategy. Have the wheels totally come off, and what are the odds this pairing is around next year? Is it too much to hope that Seb takes his engineering staff and Vasser/Sulli money to another team like Ganassi?
RM: Seb qualified and ran well at Indy, Texas and Road America, so I guess last weekend was the disappointment of the season since he started 14th at a place he usually rules. But he blamed himself for not being able to attack like he should have, and then they struggled in the race before he hit the tires. Not sure about his contract length but I imagine D.C. has Craig Hampson, Mike Cannon and Todd Phillips tied up. And as long as Hampson and Bourdais are a team they’re dangerous, so I wouldn’t throw in the towel on them for 2018.
Q: Just out of curiosity, does IndyCar generally honor suspensions issued in other racing series? Since Santino Ferrucci appears to have a couple of weeks of free time following his F2 stunts at Silverstone this past weekend, is there anything to stop Dale Coyne (or another team) from running him over here while he serves his suspension?
RM: Wouldn’t see why not, he didn’t do anything wrong in IndyCar so no reason he’d be prevented from racing in the series.