Robin Miller's Mailbag for September 5, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Robin Miller's Mailbag for September 5, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Insights & Analysis

Robin Miller's Mailbag for September 5, presented by Honda Racing / HPD


Graham Rahal; red mist not pictured. Image by Levitt/LAT

Q: Why was Graham Rahal shooting off his mouth about the wreck with Hinch and Veach? He blames Zach, but you can clearly see Hinch tried squeezing his way through and he just ran out of real estate. Graham should just keep is mouth shut and worry about himself. Personally, I like Graham and want him to do well, but until you are an elite driver, just shut up!!

Brian Lancaster, West Lafayette, IN

RM: I think any time a driver gets knocked out on the first lap of a race and we stick a camera in front of him, you’re going to hear some frustration and anger. He was watching the replay when he made those comments, so obviously from his perspective it was Zach’s fault. But that’s just part of why racing is so much different than the stick and ball sports. Those guys are never asked a question a few minutes after something goes wrong on the floor, field or diamond.

Q: Great race!  But as I watched past race footage, it became apparent that turns 1, 2, 3 are a big problem. To have some of the best racers constantly run into each other means to me something is wrong with those turns. And to have a simple questionable maneuver cause so much damage at the very beginning was almost a huge buzzkiller. Thankfully Dixon had a good luck charm in that cockpit!

Greg Williams, Apache Junction, AZ

RM: The old Portland circuit was badass with a 160 mph right-hander as Turn 1, but the runoff area was a bunch of trees so that was finally scrapped in favor of a chicane. Yes, it sucks to go from 175 mph to 25 mph when they’re six-wide funneling into a thimble, but I watched a lot of passing going into Turn 1 and there was only one altercation all day (and that was Turn 2). The fans don’t relish a “schmoozle (thank you, David Hobbs) going into Turn 1 but I do think the start is pretty damn exciting, and everybody used their heads until they got to Turn 2.

Q: Barber, Mid-Ohio, Road America, hell, even Belle Isle are places that take pride in looking good; being attractive, professional race venues. Then there is Portland, a bush league dust bowl looking stuck in the ’70s, and not appearing to care. Does IndyCar admin not have even minimum standards for race venues? Next year, if Alonso runs the series, the eyes of the world will be on America. Portland International instead of Spa? American racing will not show well.

A Jenkins, Canada

RM: Portland International Raceway is owned and operated by the city of Portland and, as you could probably tell from either being there or watching NBCSN, not much money has been spent on the circuit since the last IndyCar race in 2007. But a new paving job is in the works along with some other improvements, and after last Sunday the argument can be made that it’s a major sporting event again, so Portland might have a little civic pride and do some updates for 2019.

Q: What is your opinion on giving a driver a time-based penalty post-race like they do in F1 (like Verstappen had at Monza) vs a drive-through like Dixon received? If I recall, Dixon was already at the back of the field when he had to serve his drive-through for speeding, and then after he served it, a yellow came out fairly soon, therefore completely negating the penalty as he was able to catch right back up to the back of the field. If he’d had a three-ish second penalty after the race, Rossi would have probably finished in front of him, all else being equal, as Dixon was at the back of the field at the time of the yellow. To me, if the time amount is fair, it’s a way better system. Thoughts?

Tyler, Milwaukee

RM: I’d much rather have a penalty called and served ASAP, and Dixie was 40 seconds behind after his drive-through so it definitely served its purpose. He just got lucky with a caution. And fans deserve to see the finishing order on the track and not learn the next day that so-and-so finished fifth instead of third because he had to serve a 10-second penalty after the race finished.

Q: With all due respect to Robert Wickens, his family, friends and team, I have to say that it has become clear that his health issues are far more serious than have been reported. This kid almost, and should have, won his very first IndyCar race. I haven’t been this excited for a rookie coming on the scene in years. He is the complete package. His accident is a reminder to all of us that every time we strap into a race car it might be the last thing we ever do. Please let him know that it’s not just this 61-year-old dinosaur pulling for him but, I suspect, every person who has every set foot in a race car and the entire racing community. Best wishes Robbie, you are in my prayers every day.

Tom Patrick, Lake Arrowhead, CA

RM: I’m not sure about that. I was encouraged he’s back in Indy already, and he has been breathing on his own for a couple weeks so maybe things aren’t as dire as we first thought. Then again, only a few people know, so we’ll just be patient and hope for the best. I think everyone would be ecstatic if we just see Robby walk out of the hospital in a few weeks.