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


Could NASCAR’s throwback theme at Darlington work in IndyCar? Image by Kinrade/LAT

Q: Darlington is a pretty big hit with NASCAR fans. We’re currently watching it – why doesn’t IndyCar do a throwback weekend? I bet it would be awesome to do at the Indy Grand Prix with all the history at IMS. Wouldn’t even have to dump the sponsors’ names, we could adapt the livery to have names in them. Especially the tobacco ones, those were the coolest.

Autumn S.

RM: I’d like to see it at Indy and your suggestion makes the most sense at the road course race, so add a vintage race and memorabilia show and we’re talking.

Q: Hey Miller, for improving safety on ovals, why not go back to Justin Wilson’s idea of having the grandstands in the infield? Thus a full wall of SAFER Barrier on outer fence, which also could be use for more sponsor banners to hang on. The inner fence will have 12-foot barrier. Seems to be cheaper solution than plexiglass, and having less seats in the infield will help pack the ovals better. Thoughts? Another future idea is having virtual reality seats so fans can feel like they’re at a venue, but remotely. It was used for some matches at World Cup this summer. Maybe it’s an avenue that IndyCar could use to expand our live experience, entice new fans and further connect with tech companies.

Kevin, N.J.

RM: It’s tough enough to find ovals that want an IndyCar race, and they’re not going to spend zillions of dollars tearing up their track to move the grandstands to the infield. Maybe a new track could try it and reap the benefits, but I don’t see many new ovals under construction. A VR seat sounds intriguing, I’ll pass your idea to IndyCar’s and IMS’ crack marketing teams.

Q: A common thread when anyone talks about the quality (or lack thereof) of a particular race is how you can’t pass on an oval with the new aero kit, or how this or that road or street course is terrible because you can’t pass, and of course Formula 1 is the worst because you can’t pass.

Some of this may be justified, but I think the biggest problem is blocking. Blocking makes it hard to pass and because it’s so hard to pass, you need to block. We don’t even call it blocking. Cars snake down the straights to “break the draft,” cars drift to the inside to “defend.” Watching cars get run up against the pit wall Saturday night was clearly blocking and downright dangerous. I know everyone hates subjective penalties, but until racers are made to run a line, accept that they got passed, and try to make the pass back on the next lap, racing is going to get worse and worse.

Mark, San Diego

RM: Blocking is the worst thing to ever happen to racing, but watch an F1 race from the 1960s or an IndyCar race – it never happened. It was already dangerous enough, and those guys had respect and raced each other hard but fair. The first move by Hamilton or any of today’s heroes in F1 is to cut straight across the track to block, and thankfully it’s not nearly as bad in IndyCar. But I do worry about those blocks on the straightaways on ovals and somebody running over a wheel and clearing the pit wall.

Q: Your column was so correct about Derek Daly. Political correctness is so totally out of control and common sense is gone. Too many journalists have no morals and hide behind “Freedom of Speech” for a story but yet forget “Innocent Until Proven Guilty.” So glad you’re part of the generation that has ethics.

Stephen Janny, Nazareth, PA

RM: Thanks, but that story wrote itself because of the person, the timing, the circumstances and sheer absurdity of those cowards at Channel 8.

Q: Couldn’t agree more with you re: Derek Daly and the injustice he has received. Must have been a slow news day in Indianapolis. In addition, for Lilly to punish Conor Daly by association smacks of most cowardly political correctness. If Derek is interested in bringing suit for slander, I will join in a Gofundme account on his behalf.

What did you think about Gateway? I thought the race was made exciting by the fuel strategy situation, but I am no fan of contrived competition and think the fastest guy should win. Had they been able to run full fuel for the whole race, though, it may well have been pretty boring. Talk about mixed emotions, huh?

Erik Karlsson

RM: I haven’t spoke with DD in a week or so, but I imagine he’ll come up with a plan of attack because he’s got so much support. Gateway sucked for 150 laps and then, thankfully, got interesting and the fuel card came into play.

Q: Miller, thank goodness for a voice of sanity in this pathetic affair involving Derek and Conor Daly. I’ve never met either man, but I’ll take yours and Willy T. Ribbs’ word over spineless corporate hacks any day. I imagine the Lilly conversation went something like: “Conor Daly’s dad used the N-word!”, “When?”, “35 years ago”, “We’ve got to get out in front of this boys, terminate our association!” There is no context or consideration in 2018, only reaction. And that reaction is too often the need to ruin wrong-thinkers. How pathetic. Here’s to you for saying what is right and standing up for the Dalys. Hope you keep your job.

Jon Jones, Oologah

RM: Thanks Jon but my job isn’t in jeopardy yet (RACER publisher Paul Pfanner liked the column because he knows DD and what b.s. it was), and no need to thank me for telling the truth.