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

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


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


IndyCar won’t tolerate any Zanardi-style shenanigans at the Corkscrew. (And yes, we know this photo is from the wrong year). Image by LAT.

Q: As the new season is upon us, has anything been done to put a little bit of common sense into the rules for what constitutes a legal pass? If there is another Bourdais banzai pass at Long Beach, will it count? And what about Laguna Seca’s Corkscrew, can we use “The Pass” as the benchmark for what is fair game?

Kyle Lantz

RM: Let’s ask IndyCar race director Kyle Novak: “Long Beach presents the most challenging Turn 1/Pit Out convergence zone on the entire schedule. This is mainly due to the fact that drivers leaving the pit lane must cross over the preferred racing line to make a proper entry to Turn 1. We are working with our partners at the GPLB to make some updates to the circuit in this area, which will hopefully eliminate the necessity of enforcing an out of bounds line at the entry to Turn 1. Please stay tuned.

“With regard to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Alex Zanardi’s pass on Bryan Herta, while legendary, would not be legal by current IndyCar rules and likely be far less controversial today because our competitors are accustomed to the enforcement of Rule 7.3.7 at several races on our schedule such as upcoming events at Circuit of The Americas and the Indianapolis Grand Prix. Rule 7.3.7 states in part: “A Car will not be permitted to advance its position due to an excursion off the racing surface…” The purpose of this rule is pretty straightforward, to discourage the use of shortcutting the circuit to gain a time or position advantage.”

Q: With the season about the start this Sunday, I’m still debating the Gold Pass. And realizing I only have a few days left for the discount, I have a question about it. I don’t often get to watch qualifying, and I stream practice at work whenever I can, and every day of practice leading to the 500 is streaming on my computer at work. With the new Indy 500 qualifying format, how much coverage will be on Gold rather than NBC/NBCSN?

Chris, Michigan

RM: On Saturday, the first five hours will be carried on Gold with the final hour on NBCSN. All of Sunday’s action will be on NBC until the three-hour practice period, which will then go back to NBCSN.

Q: As you obviously know, it’s a matter of days before the IndyCar season starts, yet one of their big markets in terms of fan base doesn’t even know where to watch the races. ESPN Latin America didn’t seem to care about the series even when it had some big Latin names driving, so my guess would be they don’t have the TV rights anymore. Has anything been mentioned about TV rights for Latin America? How can the people at IndyCar brag about being an “international series” when they can’t even be shown to the world properly?

Emmanuel from Mexico

RM: I’m told IndyCar will announce the rest of its international TV affiliates later this week, and I know Latin America has a deal.

Q: Any word on IndyCar’s international TV coverage? I remember reading that they are taking it away from ESPN International, but since then it has been rather quiet. In particular, any word on how the series will be broadcast in Australia? Any further updates in regards to a return to Surfers Paradise? The event will have to be intertwined with the Supercars, which could be a major sticking point. Haven’t heard anything from this side of the Pacific in a while, anything being said on your side? Do you have any favorite on and off track memories from Surfers Paradise?

Josh, Brisbane, Australia

RM: Don’t believe Australia has anything yet for TV, and Surfers supposedly told IndyCar it was too expensive so negotiations are ongoing. Best Surfer’s memory was always the pace lap when the girls in the high-rise apartments in Turn 1 flashed the field.

Q: Just when I thought things couldn’t get better for IndyCar, I just read about the new international TV deal for the series! The upswing of IndyCar is truly unreal in a time when most series are losing sponsors and viewers. I cannot wait for the season to begin and can’t wait for Portland Labor Day weekend.

Brad Heuer, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

RM: If IndyCar gets something decent with Canada and Australia then it will be a complete TV package, but we need to remember that IndyCar can’t make a country or city subscribe. And some countries are a very tough nut right now.

Q: Obligatory “long-time reader, first time mailer,” “glad you’re back in good health”, “when are you writing a book”, “IndyCar needs to go back to MIS” opening. OK, now that we got that out of the way, I thought I’d kick an idea for a new kind of Wind Tunnel show your way. Obviously this is all probably a pipe dream, but we all miss that show and Dave and his cantankerous guest host.

Now that NBC has become the go-to place for motorsports, with properties like IndyCar, IMSA, NASCAR, Motocross, and even Monster Jam, wouldn’t it be great for NBCSN to have a show similar to Wind Tunnel that previewed/reviewed the weekly action from the series that NBC now hosts? Obviously we’d want you as the host and then maybe have a different driver/owner/crew member from one of the series be a guest host each week (schedules permitting, of course). Not only would it be a great way for us fans to get caught up on the news and events, but it would also be a great way for NBC to promote all their racing series and maybe get some people to tune in for their events. Seems like a win-win for everyone. Probably won’t happen, but hopefully NBC has something similar in the works. Make it happen Robin! I’ll hang up and listen to your response.

Brandon W., Noblesville, IN

RM: I love your opening, made me laugh out loud, and I appreciate your suggestion. NBC has the nightly NASCAR America show and IndyCar may figure into that more once the season gets going, but no plans for a WT-type show. I’d settle for just an IndyCar show, but there are a few things being kicked around for the NBC Gold Pass so maybe we can figure something out in the next couple months. How about a Wind Tunnel-type podcast with Dave Despain? I need to pitch that to him.