Q: Obviously, the fact that there were no yellow flags at Mid-Ohio made Rossi’s strategy possible, but it’s odd no one else tried it. I could not believe the close, fierce racing yet no banzai moves. Bourdais was in his element. How many passes were there? I can’t see how anyone could watch that race and not be on the edge of their couch the whole time. The best race of the season, I think.
Jim Doyle, Hoboken, N.J.
RM: I couldn’t either. I think RHR was planning on it but abandoned that strategy when he picked up a bad vibration, and I believe Dixon had similar plans but opted for three. Seb made 20 of the 188 passes that were recorded – including some amazing moves. And you may be right – Iowa, Road America, Toronto and Mid-Ohio.
Q: As I watched Bourdais carve through the field and sadly run out of P2P at the end, I thought it would be great if a driver who was making the race exciting got an increase in the P2P allotment. If Sebastien had gotten five seconds for each car he passed on track, he’d had another minute or so of P2P to get even higher on the grid. This would hamper the leader and might be a nightmare to manage for Race Control, but it’d add another element to the racing and reward what we tune in and go to tracks to see. It might even appeal to younger viewers, as it is the kind of thing you see in video games. NBCSN could come up with an achievement graphic and alert sound when a driver passed for position and received extra P2P. This would also have the extra benefit of penalizing defensive use of P2P, as you’d want to save it until you really need it or think you can get by. I’d also disable P2P on lapped cars so they can’t defend and hold up the lead racers. Please tell Seabass thanks for making the Mid-Ohio race great.
Joe, Bloomington, IN
RM: I hear what you’re saying and it could be exciting but P2P is artificial enough without adding to it. I mean, I like that it creates opportunities but you have to manage it now and I’d just hate to see it get out of hand. I will pass along your message to SeaBass.
Q: If SeaBass was at Penske, would he be as dominant as he was at Newman/Haas in Champ Car? The best drivers in IndyCar are he and Dixon. It’s a matter of the teams they are with.
RM: I don’t think he or anyone else could be that dominant, because Champ Car was pretty watered-down compared to today’s IndyCar grid. But Seb would have added to his championships driving for The Captain, and maybe put a baby Borg-Warner trophy on his mantle to boot. We always said if Justin Wilson and Bourdais ever drove for Team Penske, a lot of people would be moving back a spot.
Q: It also seems the silly season has really gone into effect this week with your rumors surrounding Dixon. Obviously Scott still has a lot to offer since he seems to sneak his way into the title hunt every season, but I always thought Roger Penske wanted drivers he could really invest some time in? How likely is that Dixon could go to Penske over some of the younger guns in the paddock? Also, Marshall’s article talked about a team being interested in Marco. As much as I am a fan of the Andretti family, and I think stepping away from his Dad’s team could give him new-found motivation… with his driving record, what team is looking at him?
Tony, Providence, Utah
RM: Dixon and Pagenaud are the top free agents, but I think R.P. would have snapped up Wickens or Rossi had they been available (which they are not at the moment) a long time ago because of their age and obvious abilities. I’m not saying Scott won’t re-up with Chip, I’m just saying his quote spokes volumes about having a couple of options and wanting to have his contract done by today. But when there’s a bidding war for your talent, it’s always smart to weight those options. I could see Dixie signing for one year with Ganassi and then seeing what happens with McLaren/Andretti, or even taking Zak Brown’s offer regardless of what Alonso does in 2019. But I think Honda is keen to keep Scott in the family, so it could get real interesting. But he certainly deserves to be coveted.
Q: Gotta say the race at Mid-Ohio was great to watch on TV from California. The new bodywork looks like a real winner on road courses! But I also have to say NBC’s production of the race was excellent! Your producers kept showing real racing, and there was lots of it – not just the guys up front, but all through the field. Had to write and give you all an “Atta Boy”! Can’t wait for Laguna Seca, er Weather Tech Raceway Laguna Seca!
Larry, Salinas, CA (4.5 miles from the Corkscrew)
RM: Terry Lingner is the best in the business at producing a race, Roger Vincent is our veteran director with lots of racing miles, Taylor Rollins is growing into a triple threat, John May is our eagle-eyed chief spotter, Matt Ford talks to three pit reporters at one time and sells their stories, Alex Caldwell handles the radios and features while executive producer Rich O’Connor has been a racer for 20 years and lets people do their jobs while being a supportive boss. It’s a good group that cares about racing, and obviously, pays attention and doesn’t miss much from green to checker. And they’re already planning 2019 and how to make May the best one ever on national television.