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

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

Insights & Analysis

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


John Andretti has worked hard to raise awareness of colon cancer. Image by IndyCar

Q: I’ve been a reader of yours from your first days at The Star (and a caller on the results line before that!). You do not need to feel guilty – our prayers are and have been with you as well as John Andretti’s. You both have given us so much, whether you know it or not, over the years. Look forward to many more years. For what it is worth, my wife has been cancer-free for 14 years. So much is possible now with all the research that has been done. It was through John’s encouragement that I went through a check, and it was a good thing. Probably would have put it off had it not been for his campaign for us to #checkit4andretti.

Jon Wright

RM: Good to hear. I think John raised awareness and sent a lot of men to get tested and not wait too long. He beat himself up pretty good for putting it off, but he’s done so much good for other people. When ex-Pacer great George McGinnis’ wife contracted cancer, I asked John if he minded calling George to tell him what to expect and answer any questions. Not only did John and his wife Nancy call them, they became friends and talked constantly, giving encouragement and information. John is a very special person.

Q: Curious to know why three Penskes and only one SPM car are involved in the Sebring test. Why not both SPMs? Why no other teams?

Vincent Martinez, South Pasadena, CA

RM: Teams are allowed to select their own test days, and Penske and SPM simply saved one until the end of the season.

Q: Have a couple trivial things to ask. Just booked flights to Austin for COTA in March. Hotels at airport close enough? Where are best seats for the race? Quick shout-out for last year’s race trips – St Pete was awesome. First turn seats rock. People are friendly, layout is awesome, and the seafood is always good! Great finish on the track, too. Bus trip to Gateway is a great trip! For $149, park at IMS and let the bus do the work. Race tix, paddock passes included. Friendly staff on the bus! Gateway staff were wonderful upon arrival. Awesome facility! Gotta say the Rumble Before the Roar party was pretty cool, too!

Jim Hoffman, Seymour, IN

RM: Great to hear about Gateway but no surprise. I’ve never been to COTA so I deferred to Mr. Pruett, and here are his recommendations: “There are plenty of great hotel options near the airport – it’s where I usually stay due to the friendlier rates. If you’re keen on the full Austin experience, including the pricier hotels, downtown is the place to be. As for seating, it depends on your viewing preference. If you like to buckle in for the day and stay in that seat, COTA could be a bit boring. The stands atop Turn 1 (driver’s right) offer great views and it’s where you’ll see some overtaking. The Turn 12 and Turn 15 stands will also give you some good looks at the action. But my overwhelming suggestion is to treat the event like walking tour of COTA’s awesomeness. Bring a folding chair, a backpack with the rest of your goodies, and maybe an umbrella (for sun or rain), and choose different corners to view from the walking path and hillside spots. There’s too much to see that a simple grandstand seat cannot offer.”

Q: Do we know if IndyCar will be testing at COTA before the race date in March? If so, will it be open to the public?

Bill Jurasz

RM: The Circuit of The Americas will serve as the site for a two-day preseason test on Feb. 12-13, the only official gathering of IndyCar’s full-season entries before the season gets underway at St. Petersburg in March. Usually one day is open to the public but I’d call COTA and confirm.

Q: I have a question about IMS and IndyCar replacing Sunoco with Speedway as the fuel supplier. Was it just a matter of the contract being up and Speedway offering a better deal, or was more involved?

Peter, Gainesville, Va

RM: Yes the contract was up and Speedway made a better offer, which includes promoting IndyCar and IMS in all their stores year-round.

Q: IndyCar has been making great strides in its climb back to what it used to be. I have written to you several times regarding my eldest son’s interest in IndyCar, and Alexander Rossi. Since the season finale we have watched Born Racer, Yellow Yellow Yellow, the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Indy 500s on YouTube and many other races and YouTube clips in an effort to feed this kid’s interest in IndyCar. He doesn’t need much help, as he chose to be Alexander Rossi for Halloween this year. He loves IndyCar racing. I took him to the Northeast Grand Prix this year, and have attempted to watch F1 races, but nothing has his focus like IndyCar and Rossi do. He now reads chassis specs and engine info on the Mini Rok class of karting, and is begging me to get him one. Keep whatever mojo you got IndyCar, because it’s working on me and my kid. I think I need to take this kid to Indy next year.


RM: I see more and more young people wearing Rossi swag at races, and it’s great to hear your son is hooked on him because that’s what IndyCar needs – that kind of passion and hero worship from the ‘60s and ‘70s. I’ve watched him a lot this past season and I think Alex is pretty good with kids, so that vibe resonates.

Q: Any concern about the Chevy corporate troubles, and what they will cut in racing?

Jeff Loveland

RM: No – here’s RACER’s story from last week.