Q: I am sick and tired of this Scott Dixon love fest. Is he a really good talent? Yes, but this recent nonsense of calling him the G.O.A.T. and “best of his generation” is a bunch of crap, and insulting to the other drivers that deserve to be in the conversation. From a statistical standpoint, Sebastien Bourdais has a better winning percentage (20% for Seb, 14% for Dixon) despite Bourdais not having a top tier drive since 2007. He also has a higher championship winning percentage (29% to 28%). Seb has also won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans. Juan Pablo Montoya can easily be in this conversation as well. CART and F1 titles, two Indy 500 wins and a 16% win ratio in IndyCar racing. He was out of the sport forever, came back and was still ultra competitive. Gil de Ferran, Dario Franchitti, RHR… so can we stop this nonsense please? Yes, Scott Dixon is an amazing talent. No, he is not the best driver of all time.
Paul in Bradenton
RM: I don’t think its crap to say Dixie may be the best of the past 25 years – just check his record. No doubt JPM would have been a multi-time champion and racked up as many if not more wins than Scott had he stayed in IndyCar, but he didn’t. (Nor did he win an F1 title). And Seabass is always a good argument for that category, even though Champ Car’s competition wasn’t real stout from 2003-2006. Dario most certainly rivals Dixon, but the fact remains that the Kiwi is almost 40 and still kicking ass. But he’s not the G.O.A.T., and I think he’d be the first to admit it. When you throw in dirt tracks, road courses, ovals and the volatility of the ‘60s, the G.O.A.T. conversation is all about A.J. Mario and Parnelli. Not Vuky or Ted Horn or Rex Mays or Rick Mears or the Unsers – just that trio.
Q: I just saw a story that said IndyCar and NASCAR are talking about a joint race weekend at Chicagoland for 2019. Have you heard anything about that? Also one thing on the Russian GP team orders controversy – there was a comment made on one of the articles on RACER.com by a reader that IndyCar has team orders as well, just not on the same scale as F1. Is there any truth to this?
RM: Complete fabrication, because there isn’t going to be a race at Chicagoland in 2019. Any team orders in IndyCar would depend on the situation, but you saw Michael Andretti’s quote in last week’s Mailbag when he said he would never tell a driver to give up the lead.
Q: Thank you for responding to my previous post in your most recent Mailbag, and thanks for your recommendation of tracks to visit on the IndyCar circuit. I hear that there are rumors going around that NASCAR and IndyCar have discussed possibilities about a future shared weekend together. I feel like if it were to happen that the best track could be Gateway as night races! I say this because NASCAR is better to watch on shorter oval tracks like Gateway, plus I watched the Truck race at Gateway, and the stands looked packed compared to almost everywhere else that the Trucks run at. The IndyCar crowd there has looked outstanding as well.
Perhaps if we were talking about the Cup Series sharing a weekend together with IndyCar it should be Gateway, with one series on a Friday night and the other on a Saturday – whoever gets the top billing being up to executives with both series, as well as NBC. Not sure how it could shape up or affect the Truck dates there, and I have heard that tire compounds from Goodyear/Firestone could cause trouble with the racing surface. But it would be worth a shot to do Cup and IndyCar on a same weekend, or maybe even on a same evening
RM: I know Jay Frye has mentioned exploring a doubleheader with NASCAR because it makes sense with NBC televising both series, and it would give an oval-track something special to promote. But all it is right now is an idea for something down the road. I suggested a twin bill with stock cars and IndyCars at COTA some day but I think IndyCar prefers an oval, so it could race on a Saturday night and NASCAR could still be the Sunday afternoon show. But I think it’s a great way to create some interest, and I hope it happens.
Q: I am wondering if Homestead is ever on the table for an IndyCar return? It’s a great track, and the new cars would probably have a competitive race.
RM: It was several months ago because there was talk of the season finale and spring training at Homestead, but all went quiet. Homestead has never drawn well for IndyCar except the first couple CART races whenthe house was papered by Marlboro, Honda and Toyota.
Q: Do you have any update regarding additional online coverage since Verizon is no longer a sponsor? Hoping everyone will have access – I would be willing to pay for it!
RM: There is going to be an NBC Gold service for IndyCar fans that will cover all facets of the race weekend, plus features and other extras. Stay tuned because there should be details in a couple months.