Robin Miller's Mailbag for September 19, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Robin Miller's Mailbag for September 19, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Insights & Analysis

Robin Miller's Mailbag for September 19, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

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Their loss: Dixon testing with Williams at Barcelona in 2004. Image by Dunbar/LAT

Q: An amazing season. Hats off to Scott Dixon for joining Big Tex as the only drivers to win the IndyCar title five times. But the season was all about Alexander Rossi, even if he fell short of winning the Indy Car title. What would have happened if Dale Coyne had a matching contract to compete with the Campos GP2 team and kept him back in 2015? This is a driver that got away from Coyne, Manor, and Haas. Even Formula 1 itself. Now, 2019 could become his year. But another obstacle could be on the horizon with Fernando Alonso coming into the series. And as far as Dixon goes, can IndyCar’s Iceman place a Formula 1 drive on his bucket list after getting his sixth before calling it quits?

JLS, Chicago, IL

RM: I’m sure Dixie might like to test an F1 car some day, but doubt if he’s got any interest in racing one unless it was as Lewis Hamilton’s teammate (and that ain’t gonna happen). He’s almost 40 and very secure in his career. On the other hand, Rossi was given a second lease on his racing life by Andretti and Herta and has run with it, and I think that’s one of the best stories of the past few years. People say ‘well now Rossi will want to go back to F1’, but again, why would he leave a great situation where he’s a contender in every race to go back and maybe get a mid-pack ride? No chance.

Q: When Rossi cut his tire on Lap 1, he skipped the Carousel and the chicane.  When he rejoined the race at Turn 7, the end of the drag strip, he was running in the top five.  When he rejoined the race at the exit of the chicane, he was running 10th and nearly took out Ed Jones because he just drove straight on the track instead of stopping for the field to pass. 1) Why didn’t Kyle Novak penalize Rossi for this? If not for cutting the track, at least for driving into the middle of a race with a damaged car.2) What do you think about it? 3) What did competitors think about it?

Kyle in Raleigh

Q: It did not matter when it was all said and done, but Rossi took advantage and played the system on the opening lap after he broke his wing. He then took the shortcuts and basically entered the pits without losing much in track position.  He got the wings and nose replaced and did not lose a lap.  If he had to take the actual track, he would have lost a lap.  IndyCar has to close this loophole with time penalties to reflect what he would have lost.

Thanks,

Mark in Cincinnati

RM: Here’s IndyCar race director Kyle Novak:

“Drivers were instructed in the drivers meeting that the shortcut from the runoff at Turn 4 to the re-entry point in Turn 7 was available to them if the car was in significant mechanical distress impairing their own safety or the safety of others. Drivers would be allowed to take that shortcut provided the time and all positions gained were given back on the lap in which the shortcut occurred.

“In the case of the 27 car, all the time and positions were given back before the car arrived at the pit entrance.”

Q: I’m a Detroit Lions fan.  Can we please have a couple more races to watch? This season was here and gone before we knew it, and what an amazing season it was. I’ve got a couple questions, but I’m sure the responses will be brief.  Who had the most disappointing season? (Graham Rahal) Is Pato really that far ahead of Colton? Side note: I guess these cars don’t race great everywhere. It was still better than most Sonoma races.

Ryan in West Michigan

RM: Condolences on your football team Ryan, but in talking to a couple of sponsors this past weekend they were saying they hoped IndyCar’s season was over before the NFL started, so if anything I think Mark Miles wants to start much earlier and end in early September. I think 20 races would be ideal. Nobody was more disappointed with his season than Graham; first time in four years he didn’t win a race. What you have to remember about Pato is that he drove high horsepower IMSA cars in 2017 and he’s a grad student while Colton is still in school. Last Sunday’s race was typical for Sonoma: no passes for the lead except on pit stops, and pretty much a bore. Certainly not the venue you want to end your season and crown your champion at, and Laguna will be a carbon copy – from the lack of fans to the lack of action.

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