Q: While I was watching the Pau Grand Prix, which is part of the Euro F3 series, it occurred to me that there are a bunch of cool street courses in Europe that are part of existing events that could be cool IndyCar events. Take Pau, for instance – it’s a temporary street course that’s really cool. It has elevation and turns with camber! Now I know an event has to “make sense” (whatever that means), but as an idea, IndyCar could have one race per year in Europe and rotate among some of those tracks taking advantage of events that already occur, and have lower ladder open-wheel events (but not F1), elevating exposure to IndyCar around Europe. Of course the organizers of those events would have to be interested, but I bet management of those events probably have never even considered pairing an IndyCar event with their event. It would bring more tickets! IndyCar could reduce or eliminate the sanction fee for those races (consider it a marketing activity). Is it a worthy idea?
Doug, Stafford, VA
RM: Any country, city or track that’s interested in hosting IndyCar would be worth exploring, but it’s not like there’s a big line right now that could afford the expenses. That could be the deal-breaker in Australia. But Pau seems awfully tight and tiny for IndyCars, so I imagine there are better options.
Q: I have been a huge fan of IndyCar and USAC Sprints/Champs my whole life. I’m almost 50 now, and like others, I can sense the beginnings of what could be a major resurgence of open-wheel racing. What are the chances of the USAC Silver Crown cars racing before the Indy Lights at the smaller ovals like Gateway? Seems like it would be a great way to get both the fan bases excited.
Bob, Lebanon, IN
RM: Gateway’s Chris Blair owns a Silver Crown car and is a big advocate, and I know he wants to bring them back if possible. And Iowa ran USAC shows in prior years that were damn entertaining. I remember standing on somebody’s motor home with Justin Wilson watching a USAC midget race at Iowa, and he was blown away with the slicing and dicing and car control.
Q: You looked great on TV at St. Pete. I’ve been praying for your cancer to go remission (John Andretti’s, too) and hope your road to recovery is going well. Only time I tried to get in touch with you was via phone on a Wind Tunnel many years back when I wanted to let you and Dave know the acronym for USF1: LIAR! Sure miss Wind Tunnel and Dave; hope he is having a great retirement. I never missed an episode. Why on WindTunnel when you were interviewing A.J. did he say he would talk to you when you hosted, but would not talk with Dave? And what drivers did NOT bring any type of funding to their team at the St. Pete opener? I am sure the list is way smaller than those who had to bring some funding to their team. Look forward to staying hi to you at the RRDC evening with David Hobbs dinner at Long Beach. Take care, and will continue to pray for you and John Andretti. Thanks for Mailbag!
Steve Webb, Riverside, CA
RM: Thanks for you kind thoughts and reading the Mailbag. A.J. had it in his mind he didn’t like Dave, and we’re pretty sure they have never met. Tex is pretty stubborn so nothing I could do would change his mind, and then Dave went on a motorcycle trip and suggested I invited A.J. on when I hosted WT that Sunday. So Tex agreed and had some fun (held up the I Hate Robin Miller T-shirt) and Despain was happy with finally got him on. Dave is doing well in retirement but I wish I could talk him into doing a monthly WindTunnel podcast. Dixie, Felix, Seb, Power, JoNew, Pagenaud, T.K., RHR, Rossi, Pigot and Hinch didn’t bring any, while Rahal always helps his dad find sponsorships, and Marco now owns half his team.
Q: IndyCar needs to have a “Drive to Survive” season on Netflix. Had so many non-racing friends hit me up asking if I watch it. Editing and production was top-notch, and it really gave an insight into the life of a driver. Perfect for casual person to get into.
Kevin, Long Beach
RM: Not familiar with it, but anything showcasing a racing series for the casual fan would be valuable.
Q: In doing some research the other day, I came across USAC’s original 1980 schedule, which included some interesting track choices. Of the 10 races, there were events scheduled for Charlotte, Road Atlanta, and to my surprise, a 500-mile race at Talladega (all of which were later cancelled when CART & USAC briefly got together to co-sanction). Now, knowing a bit about USAC’s ill-fated attempt at Daytona in 1959, it honestly shocks me that they would have even considered running at a high-speed superspeedway such as Talladega again. Do you have any recollection concerning this race? Who on earth thought this would be a good idea?
Vincent Michael, Williamsport, PA
RM: Hmmm, let’s see who thought it would be a good idea? How about the same clowns that took the dirt cars out of the USAC Championship Trail? There were some crazy ideas being thrown around back then, but I don’t think anybody ever took Talladega seriously. Jim Hurtubise ran 191 mph in his Mallard roadster at Daytona in 1968, but the lone Indy car pass came in 1974 when A.J. Foyt ran 217.854 mph in his Coyote.
Q: Thanks for all you do for motorsports, especially IndyCar. Couldn’t NASCAR require all cars in the final 12 to post a time or be relegated to the back of the pack for the race on Sunday? Not seeing drivers race for a qualifying time was really disappointing. If that continues to be a possibility, why tune in? Hope to see you in Long Beach in April.
RM: I think NASCAR was pretty embarrassed by last week’s qualifying at Fontana,,but what can they do? Everyone waited too long. I don’t think you can make them go out, but you felt bad for the fans in the stands.