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

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

Insights & Analysis

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

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Super GT (pictured in 2017) sealed a rules tie-in with DTM, and the two series will meet on the track twice next year. Image by Ishihara/LAT

Q: I see DTM and Super GT are finding common ground and having two races as one in 2019. How about IndyCar and Super Formula? Would immediately bring in a new engine manufacturer, same chassis supplier. Some negotiations and maybe possible? I know this won’t be an original idea so apologies if I’m regurgitating old arguments.

Oliver Wells

RM: I guess you’d have to know if Super Formula had any interest, because I don’t see IndyCar switching its rules as long as Chevy and Honda are playing.

Q: Why doesn’t Miller, Coors or Bud sponsor a car? Why doesn’t Stewart/Haas or Haas alone have a team or at least a Indy 500 entrant? Why doesn’t IndyCar do was NFL does with Hard Knocks or F1 did with the McLaren team on Netflix? People who watch Netflix crave original interesting programming. I believe it would be a bit hit if they followed a team throughout the year. Why did Toyota leave? That is who needs to come back.

Steve, Pittsburgh

RM: They all sponsored cars in IndyCar and NASCAR back when money was flowing like suds. Stewart will do it some day. It would require spending money to make a documentary and that’s not going to happen. Toyota left because it spent a fortune in CART before it finally got competitive with a couple good teams and then it won and bailed. It’s never coming back. At least that was the company line.

Q: I am so perplexed reading all of these complaints in your Mailbag about NASCAR. What is with this inferiority complex that pervades IndyCar die-hards? Yes, I am a NASCAR fan first in motorsports, but I enjoy watching all motorsports. And I am second to no one in my problems with where stock car racing is nowadays, including the restrictor plate, but I would rather worry about addressing fans cheering for a wreck and being upset about that than being scared to death about the future of stock car racing when another Bobby Allison flips into the fence and kills a fan.

I am happy to acknowledge all of these problems with NASCAR and all of my problems with Brian France, but what is it the IndyCar fans really want in their complaining? Do they think that the 4-5 million NASCAR viewers a week will suddenly have this epiphany and say, “Oh boy! These hundreds or even thousands of dollars I spend making it to a weekend at a NASCAR track has all been a facade. These open-wheel spec cars with no mildly marketable drivers going around in circles are so much more exciting than what we have been used to!” Come on. I am happy to watch both forms of racing and I think we could stand a lot more cross-promotion. NASCAR has a huge set of problems that it should have addressed long ago, and now the chickens are coming home to roost. But please spare me the joke that what I watched at Chicago – for 400 miles – was so much better than what I could have watched with 30 indistinguisable IndyCar robots at Phoenix, alongside of the 1,200 viewers that watched or whatever the small number was.

I don’t know what the complaining is about, but both sports need to work together because the data tells the story. And part of that story is that no one that these racing “fans” complaining about NASCAR are addressing is listening to them. They are busy watching NASCAR. 

And by the way: what is with these complaints in your Mailbox about the Dale Jr. “slide job” sound bite? What is he supposed to do, go into a 30-minute History Channel special about dirt racing and the origins of the slide job pass? 

And a second by the way – that race was broadcast by the NBC Sports crew. The last time I checked, IndyCar die-hards are ecstatic about being on NBC for the next little while. Maybe we need to focus on rising the tide to lift all boats? I just enjoy watching the races and vent my frustrations about how Brian France is ruining the sport. I don’t sit here and complain about how it is so much better or worse than other motorsports. I know we are entitled to our opinions, and by all means keep voicing them, but it just gets a bit amusing sometimes.

Jeremy Lambert

RM: I think it’s a natural jealousy (at least on my part) that IndyCar is so much better racing but NASCAR gets 10 times the audience. But I think all race fans appreciate the talents of Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex and Jimmie Johnson, and I love watching them road race or go to short tracks. I also think NASCAR on NBC and NBCSN has helped IndyCar’s ratings because if we have a good lead-in from a NASCAR practice, qualifying session or race, it definitely helps. I think a lot of the animosity towards NASCAR is its litany of lucky dogs, stage racing, green-white-checker, preferential treatment and bogus cautions. Other than push-to-pass and the insanity of double points in the finale, IndyCar stays pretty pure. With Jay Frye’s connections and friendships, IndyCar and ISC have re-kindled some dialogue and partnerships and that’s good because they could help each other (especially with an oval or two or IMSA/IndyCar doubleheaders at The Glen). But to your point, all racing series are vying for fans, sponsors and media awareness. NASCAR remains the Big Dog and that’s not likely to change any time soon.

 

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