Q: I wanted to ask about the IndyCar windscreen. Any news on it for 2019? Since Josef Negarden’s test at the Speedway, we haven’t heard anything about it. Do you think it will be ready for 2019?
Victor in Toronto
RM: It continues to undergo off-track testing by IndyCar, but it’s not going to be around in 2019 because it’s far from being perfected.
Q: Do you think we will ever see J.R. Hildebrand in the broadcast booth? He might be a good fit, if someone doesn’t return in 2019.
Paul Hirsch, Erie, Pa.
RM: J.R. is a very bright young man with a dry sense of humor and would likely do a nice job in the booth, but I’m afraid he’d be behind Tony Kanaan and James Hinchcliffe in the pecking order (if he wanted to try television).
Q: I was wondering whether or not IndyCar is going to have an official app for 2019. What have you heard? Until now Verizon had an official app for IndyCar, but as you know, it left at the end of 2018. The subscribers had access to exclusive content, including audio and video that I’m told the rest of America and Canada didn’t get. In Canada you were lucky if you had a leaderboard, because content was exclusive to one carrier only. I’m hoping you can reach out to IndyCar to find out what replaces Verizon’s app, not only for the U.S., but Canada as well. I don’t want to read too much into this, but is a lack of a title sponsor threemonths before the season starts anything to worry about? Can it make pulling off events harder for the series? I guess what I’m asking about is IndyCar’s stability outside of the Indy 500. The competition is great, but the health of the series as a whole is what I’m concerned about.
RM: C.J. O’Donnell, CMO, IndyCar: “The present Verizon INDYCAR Mobile App will be replaced in the coming months. The date of the launch of INDYCAR Mobile 2019 is TBD as we are signing a new tech partner to assist with this effort shortly. Not surprisingly, timing is not in our favor this late in the calendar year. If a gap in service occurs, loyal App users will receive an update that serves INDYCAR.com content to our fans. Put another way, this ‘bridge’ app will mirror the INDYCAR.com mobile experience. Access to content available on INDYCAR.com along with Timing and Scoring will be served via this temporary App.”
Q: In your opinion, what was the funniest thing you saw on the IndyCar circuit this year? Also, in your opinion, what was the funniest story you heard, true or not, on the IndyCar circuit this year? Glad you’re back.
D. Krueger, West Allis, Wi.
RM: The funniest thing I saw was the bee hat I bought A.J. after he was attacked again on his ranch. And the T-shirt I made him (Foyt 83, Grim Reaper 0) was pretty damn funny too. I suppose the funniest prediction was that Zach Veach was too small and frail to drive an IndyCar and all he did was finish 4-5-6-7-8 and qualify in the top 10 four times to silence all the critics.
Q: 1. Roll hoop displays? Loved them, can’t we go back to originals? 2. Aero screen? What’s the hold up? 3. Catch fence consortium? Just because I see Hinch and Wicky’s lighthearted wheelchair racing doesn’t erase that crash or Dan’s. Who’s the OATK (one ass to kick) working this issue? 4. If I don’t see a proper catch fence on Indy’s pit wall, I’m going to go mental. Again, OATK please.
RM: 1. They’ll be back when they’re perfected. 2. Work in progress, not easy with ovals and it’s a challenge. 3. IndyCar’s Jay Frye and Tony Cotman stay in contact with FIA safety board. 4. Just use the fence they had for MotoGP, but make it stronger.
Q: Next year, does NBC have plans to continue your short clips featuring the drivers during the pre-race? Those were unbelievable, must watch, and very informative. You could feature older drivers like Mario and Michael, the legends back in the USAC days, current drivers, old tracks, I mean the options are endless and I think I speak for most of the IndyCar community in saying that it would be a great thing for this to continue. That and the endless tech information that Jon Beekuis can give us with short clips are just about everything any IndyCar fan needs. Hope you are getting better Robin, God Bless.
Hutch, Cabot, PA
RM: Thanks, my bosses Rich and Terry get all the credit because they weren’t sure I was going to make it to the races, so they gave me that feature assignment which I could do here in Indianapolis. Very classy of them to take care of me, and it turned out to be a lot of fun. We’ve got lots of ideas for 2019, and who knows, maybe we’ll have some historical features to go along with personality pieces. But appreciate your support.