Robin Miller's Mailbag for February 6, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Robin Miller's Mailbag for February 6, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Insights & Analysis

Robin Miller's Mailbag for February 6, presented by Honda Racing / HPD


There might be a crime taking place right behind that grandstand. Image by LePage/LAT

Q: In a recent Mailbag, you said “Toronto is like New York City without the crime.” Well, newsflash! Toronto’s homicide rate is now higher than that of NYC. Overall, although the crime rate in NYC per capita is still higher, the crime rate in Toronto is increasing per capita and is decreasing in NYC for more than a decade. I work in the safest big city in the U.S. Perceptions are hard to change, but I am trying to increase racing fans in NYC, especially IndyCar! Thanks to (Prince) George IV, I’ve got a shot. Another comment like that would be like Herk trotting out the “Mallard” for pole day 2019. Your perception as old news as Teo Fabi lining up the Porsche. In some ways, at 56, strange as it sounds, I’d like to intern for you and help you write your book. I wrote my Master’s Thesis  (M.F.A. in Acting) in 28 days. I’m a tour guide in NYC, maybe you need to intern for me as most of my colleagues are 15 years older than I am. Please don’t quit, open-wheel race fans need you!!!

David Parker, NYC

RM: Thanks for that update David, I had no idea. Toronto always seems too friendly. But we’re all fired up about the Steinbrenners and they got some big time press a couple months back in The Big Apple. No book plans at the moment, but thanks for the offer, Hell, why would I quit the two best jobs in racing?

Q: Jackie Stewart once claimed that the late, great Graham Hill could spot an attractive female in the crowd while racing at speed the same way someone walking or standing could. Do you have any stories of drivers with similar powers of observation that you can share with us?

Josh H.

RM: Bobby Unser could spot a divorcee or widow sitting in Tower Terrace from 200 yards without binoculars. And he wasn’t bashful about introducing himself. I’d tell you the turkey story, but it’s best you listen to Dinner with Racers.

Q: I was watching a program on Science channel and the hour-long episode was on the wind turbine farm in the North Sea. In discussing the production of the wind turbines and their blades, they spent 10 minutes about the addition of a Gurney flap to the edge of the wind turbine blades and the additional force they were able to get by the addition of the flap. They showed a picture of Dan Gurney, several Eagles (IndyCar and Formula 5000) and the original development of the Gurney flap as a race car application. They also made a mock up race car rear wing, set it on a scale and blew air over the wing from a hand-held hair dryer. The addition of the Gurney flap to the wing doubled the down force produced. I thought it was great the recognition Dan Gurney received in a diverse application on Science channel.

Richard in Memphis

RM: That is so cool but so indicative of The Big Eagle’s influence, thanks for sharing.

Q: I wanted to pass on some info about attending the IndyCar race at Barber. I’ve been going down to meet some local friends for the past few years, and Barber Museum’s Turn 9 Club is worth checking into.  For one person, traveling from more than 100 miles away, it’s $80 for a yearly membership to the museum/Turn 9 Club – here’s the link. If you’re there for the whole weekend, it’s worth it, probably not if you’re there just race day. As a side note, we always take an RV, and there are several places to shower on-site, if camping.

Here are some of the highlights: full access to the museum, meals and drinks throughout the IndyCar weekend in the Turn 9 Club located in the museum basement—Jennifer Nelson and her staff there make it very easy to register for everything for the IndyCar weekend (so they can keep tabs on how much food/drink is needed—this must be done ahead of race weekend). You can hang out in there as much as you want, with closed-circuit tTV (which was great with last year’s rain), outdoor seating at the exit of T9, access to the T9 bridge and the bridge/elevated viewing paddock just before T8 (that’s where I’ve always watched the start of the race – fantastic views).

In between those two bridges there are several spots where you can get right up to the catch fence and extremely close to the cars on course. If you plan on hanging down there for a while, they will check your baggage up front when you come in. Just wanted to pass this info along in case it’s helpful for any other inquiring fans planning on making the trip!

Kyle Allen

RM: Good stuff Kyle, I knew Barber was fan-friendly but had no idea about the Turn 9 Club so thanks for sharing this information.

Q: You’re the best to get the real questions and answers.  You are 10 months older than me.  I’ve been going to the races since 1956.  I love racing history.  I don’t have an agenda, no social media whatsoever. Just Curious! 1. Did you go to Mari Hulman George’s funeral and was Guy Trollinger there? One time you told me he has always been with her since Elmer’s death. How did Tony George handle that? Was A.J. like a surrogate father to Tony?

Tom B.

RM: I did not go so I can’t answer your first question. I’ve never talked to Tony, Josie, Nancy or Kathi about Guy, but I’m sure it was difficult and awkward for a long time, if not forever. I always thought Tony had an inherent sadness about him and that would certainly explain it. That would affect anyone. And I do think A.J. tried to be there for TG, albeit tough when you’re in Texas most of the time. But Tex ran him in Lights and tried to give him advice as he matured.

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