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


Road America is a good place to get an IndyCar road course fix. Image by LePage/LAT.

Q: I am looking to go to one IndyCar road course race this year. Can you suggest one, or maybe a couple to choose from, along with best viewpoints?

James Overmeyer, Islip, NY

RM: Road America, Barber or Mid-Ohio are all good because you can walk around and see most of the track. But rent a golf cart at RA and MO because there’s a lot of ground to cover. And Barber has fabulous spectator seating on the hillsides. You can’t go wrong with any of those three.

Q: Finished listening to Terry Trammell’s segment on “Dinner with Racers” this last weekend. Funniest part to me was his story about fixing up his now-wife (well before they started dating) after she had an accident and then dropping her off at her hotel. She was drugged up and he was afraid that he’d run into you in the process (stumbling out of a bar I think he said) and you’d write a story about it. Had you heard that story before? Dr. Trammell sounds like a great guy, though. Hope when you write your book you include stories about some of the people like him who are behind the scenes.

Sean Walsh, Arlington, VA

RM: Never heard that one, but I don’t drink so Terry was safe. He’s the best.

Q: I am attending Road America in June for the first time. I have checked on a few motels there, but not much luck in Elkhart Lake proper, except one that wants a 4-night minimum booking. Do you have any suggestions?

Jim Cossaart, Vermont (51 years in Stand J)

RM: Try Fond du Lac (20 minute drive from track) first and then Sheboygan (40 minute drive) because both have plenty of hotels.

Q: I hope that you will listen to the calls of your fans and give more consideration to writing a book. The truth is, any story that you don’t have written down will be lost forever. As a history teacher I can tell you it is the first hand accounts and small stories that give us a more complete perspective of what has gone on in what you correctly describe as a niche sport (but then…it always has been and that’s why your readers are so passionate). So I am asking you to give genuine consideration to writing a book. Additionally, I am curious about something. At one point in the early 80s a lot of Formula 1 and sports car constructors tried making one-off or bespoke chassis for CART. I am thinking of the Argo, Theodore, Ligier, Lotus, etc. If any of those projects had a proper development budget, which do you think could have been a viable option to the March and Lola?

P. Worth Thompson

RM: I think if Morris Nunn would’ve had a couple more years of oval-track experience (and a bigger budget), his Theodore would have been the best because Mo was so sharp and really caught on to ovals. Obviously he was quite clever at road racing. The Lotus might have been intriguing but it never turned a wheel in competition, and the Ligier was a dog.

Q: Last year I visited your fair city and, thanks to your recommendations, I had very interesting meals at both the Mug and Bun and Workingman’s Friend. In return I would like to offer up a couple of recommendations for some interesting places in St. Petersburg. First, just a couple of blocks west of the track on Central Avenue is Mastry’s Bar and Grill, a somewhat unpretentious joint with decent pub grub but a truly interesting past. In the 20th century this joint was a favorite of NY Yankee ballplayers like Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle. About a mile south of the race track is the Chattaway Drive-in. Opened as a gas station /country store in the 1920s  by the 1940s it had become a drive-n restaurant. Now it is a really funky outdoor (but shady) burger joint featuring the justifiably famous “Chattaburger.” It is hard to miss as it is the only Flamingo Pink and green building located at the corner of 4th street and 22nd Avenue south.

For folks who are staying on St. Pete Beach, or don’t mind a 15-minute drive, there are a couple of local favorites to check out on the Gulf side of town. Ted Peters Seafood is a laid back 1940s-era outdoor restaurant located on Pasadena Blvd in South Pasadena featuring fresh seafood cooked to traditional local recipes. At the very southern end of St. Pete Beach is the old beach town of Pass-a-grille. Once inhabited by shrimpers, smugglers and surfers, it is now an interesting mix of artists, fishermen and retirees. There are several restaurants ranging between fancy and funky. A great place for breakfast and lunch is the Seahorse located on the water at 7th Ave and Gulf Blvd. Their “Baby Ray” sandwiches are great!


RM: Thanks for your dining tips, been to Chattaburger and it was great.

Q: Thanks for all you do for the sport. I really enjoy your writing and NBC commentary. Wanted to get your take on something I’ve been working on in spare moments. From time to time, fans write the Mailbag to request seating or “what to do around town” advice when attending races. Given that my wife and I try to attend one race a year, I started skimming back issues of the Mailbag and compiling your/Marshall’s/reader’s advice into a single document.

This information is less useful if only I see it, so I thought it might be nice to open it up to other fans. I could finish mining old issues, organize it and even put together a form to allow folks to suggest additions and updates. Would something like this run afoul of RACER policies (plagiarism)? If so, I’ll cease work on it. If not, and you think it valuable to your readers, I’ll continue and let you know when I have a solid document to share and a link for updates.

Ryan Kaisoglus

RM: No, RACER loves a public service, and I appreciate you going to the trouble of logging in all these past suggestions. Thanks very much.