Robin Miller's Mailbag for March 20, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Robin Miller's Mailbag for March 20, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Insights & Analysis

Robin Miller's Mailbag for March 20, presented by Honda Racing / HPD


It wasn’t just Bourdais who was frustrated by how qualifying played out at St Pete. Image by Abbott/LAT

Q: Watched IndyCar qualifying, and I have to say I was very disappointed. I don’t know if the rules are different this year but I don’t recall ever seeing that many penalties and so many cars with no time. What’s the rush? When you are at a race weekend there are two things you get excited about; qualifying and the race itself. Why limit the sessions to 10 minutes? Bourdais said it best: don’t we owe it to the fans and sponsors to let the cars be seen? The red flag penalty is two laps? Cars didn’t even get two laps. Twenty minutes should be the minimum per session. More action on the track, more bang for the buck.

Mark, San Diego

RM: Couldn’t agree more, we’ve got too many rules and I think Jay Frye is going to take a long look at some of them. The sessions were shortened because everybody just sat in their pit until the final five minutes, and it still happens sometimes even though there’s only 10 minutes in total. There is also a time consideration for television. But paying customers got robbed, as did our TV audience. I’d like to see everyone guaranteed at least one hot lap.

Q: Wow, Robin, where do I start? That was the most enjoyable IndyCar debut race in a long time. I couldn’t get to St. Petersburg for medical reasons, so I figured, what the heck, and spent the money on a Gold Pass. Couldn’t have enjoyed it more. Great value for the money. BTW, I understand that if you want to watch F1 in Europe it will cost you in the area of $800 for the season, so I don’t want to hear any more complaining about the price of Gold. Anyway, a couple of questions/observations. 

In qualifying, shouldn’t Herta’s team have informed him that Kimball was closing so he could avoid impeding him? I think Colton got screwed. Then he got a great result in the race. I just wish he had been able to start in the proper end of the field, and the race would have been even more compelling. Also, why no yellow for Dixie’s spin? Looked like a spin to this former flagger. Also, happy to see one of my countrymen (Felix) in the position of rising star. I think this race will have the veteran drivers really watching over their collective shoulders. Can’t wait for COTA.

Svenskdude in Florida

RM: Other than Turn 1 there are few places for a spotter at St. Pete, so I guess you’re at the mercy of the track map. Colton took the blame afterwards, but again, all these rules about what is impeding and what isn’t just confuses things. Everyone slows down to get a clear track, so it’s all a judgment call. IndyCar said all the traffic was on its out-lap so no penalty for Dixie. Believe me, everyone already has their eye on Felix.

Q: I am responding after reading the first post on your March 13th Mailbag about having to pay extra for an NBC Sports channel. The radio broadcast on the IndyCar Radio Network can be accessed online for free, correct? I know I’m weird, but if a race is on a channel that I don’t have, or can’t get at the moment, I will pull up the radio feed and listen to the action! Not trying to make anyone mad, but there are other options to following the action live, but without having to have those channels if you don’t want to pay extra for it. And if I am correct, the IndyCar Radio Network is an option!

Kevin, North Carolina

RM: You are spot-on Kevin, the IMS radio network covers practice, qualifying and every race, and does a nice job. It’s certainly an option, although listening to IndyCars on the radio is kinda like listening to golf – it requires some visual imagination.

Q: I’ve had a great experience so far with the NBC Gold Pass for IndyCar. Bought the pass for all my traveling race fans as a gift, but unfortunately I couldn’t provide it to my friends in Windsor, Canada. It’s a real good value, however they advertised it as commercial-free, and that’s true for all sessions except for the full same-day race replays. We don’t have to actually watch commercials, we just get the standard “coverage will return shortly,” whereas in practice and qualifying they stay live at the race site even as NBC Sports goes to commercial. We should have that privilege for the full race replays also, but hey, I have to complain about something, right? I’m a race fan! Hertamania Version 2.0 has returned! That kid was the highlight of my and my friends’ weekend! We knew Rosenqvist would be fast because we’ve followed him a long time. We were missing O’Ward, though.

Shawn Connelly

RM: Glad you like Gold, and NBC is considering having P.T. sing during commercial breaks but nothing has been decided yet. Colton was mighty impressive, and Felix delivered like we expected. Pato will be back this week at COTA.

Q: I was surprised to see Honda engines blowing up at St. Pete. Is this something that you think we may see more of? Have you heard if this was a Honda issue, or a driver error that caused the problems?

Brian Martin, Monroeville, IND

RM: Based on the past 15 years I’d say it was more of an anomaly, because Honda and Chevy don’t have many failures, and it wasn’t driver error.