Robin Miller's Mailbag for March 13, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Robin Miller's Mailbag for March 13, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Insights & Analysis

Robin Miller's Mailbag for March 13, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

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The 2000 IRL season kicked off with a January race at Walt Disney World Speedway (won by Robbie Buhl, for those keeping score). Image by Williams/LAT

Q: A couple of things have popped to mind recently that give me cause to write. Now that the NASCAR season is in full swing and IndyCar finally got going, I find myself thinking back to one of the few things that the IRL did right. They started the season in January at Homestead. By the time mid-January rolls around, I am starving for major league racing, and they were the first series out of the gates each year for several years. Has IndyCar thought about bringing this back? Also, the piece on Mark Martin winning the Rolex 24 brought back some good memories. For years, he was my favorite NASCAR driver. Having attended the three consecutive races that he won at the Glen cemented this. He sure was a road coarse ace in his day. As one that wasn’t afraid to try something different, did he ever consider IndyCar?

Duncan, Port Perry, Canada

RM: It was actually Orlando and an oval at DisneyWorld for the IRL opener, and Mark Miles has been trying to come up with a foreign race in February but so far hasn’t scored one. I’d rather see the season open early in the USA, but your options are limited, unless IndyCar went back to Homestead like CART in the late ’90s. But attendance steadily declined in CART, then IRL, so not sure either side wants to try again. Never heard Martin mention IndyCar, but I’m sure he’d have loved to test one on a road course.

Q: One month of May tradition that I enjoy every year is watching every practice session all day long that I stream from my desk at work on IndyCar.com. Now that IndyCar has the NBC Sports Gold package, I have two questions: 1) Will this be the only way to view all the week day practice sessions at IMS in May because it’s no longer going to be streamed on IndyCar.com? 2) If that is the case, does that mean it will be all the NBCSN crew (including yourself) doing commentary all week long? These answers will definitely influence my decision to go ahead and get the season-long subscription.

John Baadilla, San Bernardino, CA

RM: The only way to watch Indy practice will be NBC Gold, and we will be on the air from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with our regular IndyCar crew. The first five hours of qualifying on May 18 will also be exclusive to NBC Gold before we switch over to NBCSN for the final hour.

Q: I understand that NBCSN had technical difficulties Sunday, but it was exacerbated by going to a commercial after they got audio back up. We had just sat through over 10 minutes of commercial – the least NBC could’ve done for the fans was to stick with the limited broadcast that they had for a little longer than usual. Also, no offense to you and Jon Beekhuis (you two are great), but I could do with a lot less Peacock Pit Box, and a lot more racing.

Tom from Newark, NY

P.S. NBC Sports Gold is definitely worth the price.

RM: Gotta pay those bills Tom, sorry, and I think Jon and I were on for about five minutes total during the race so I don’t think we hogged too much time from the action. But if there was something interesting going on, our producer would have cut to it and simply used the audio from the Pit Box. Glad you enjoyed Gold Pass.

Q: Hope you are doing well. Just want to say the NBC Gold Pass is excellent. We are cord-cutters and I have satellite TV mainly to watch IndyCar. And $49 per year beats $200 per month. So far, so good.

John P, Glendora, CA

RM: Good to hear John. People praised it for being like an actual telecast, and that was the goal – to deliver a qualifying show to practice.

Q: I am writing this on Friday night. All I’ve watched is the two practice sessions on NBC Gold, and I am amazed! I’ve never cared two shakes about practice sessions until now. Watching you, Leigh, PT, Bell, and all the others put on a full-blown broadcast was entertaining and exciting. I never dreamed watching practice would be as fun as watching qualifying. Kudos to NBC for this excellent coverage. Regardless of what others say, I think the price is a bargain if we’re going to get this kind of coverage all season. I just hope you and the rest of the NBCSN crew don’t get tired of working all the overtime. If they would just add live qualifying and races, the app would be absolutely perfect.

That being said, I’m not the smart tech guy in the room, so I’ve got to ask, isn’t the internet global? Didn’t they used to call it the World Wide Web? What’s to stop NBC from offering the Gold package worldwide?

John in Arkansas

RM: Thanks for the kind words and I believe you can watch qualifying all year on NBC Gold (plus all the Indy Lights races). I’m not the smartest tech guy either, but I imagine that they’re required to restrict it to fans inside the U.S.

Q: How good is the NBC Gold? To all of those who are moaning about the cost, stop already! It delivers great value.

Justin, Park City

RM: Thanks Justin, appreciate your support.

Q: Just watched the second practice on NBC gold and it was fantastic. Both practices were by far the best practice coverage I’ve ever seen in 25 years. It’s worth $50 bucks a weekend; you guys did a great job.

CAM in LA

RM: Thanks. I will pass along your compliments to the NBC brass. I was just thinking how much I would have paid to watch USAC practice at Langhorne in 1964 or Riverside in 1968, and $50 for the whole season is a bargain.

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