Welcome to the Robin Miller Mailbag presented by Honda Racing / HPD. You can follow the Santa Clarita, California-based company at: hpd.honda.com and on social media at @HondaRacing_HPD and https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD.
Your questions for Robin should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. We cannot guarantee we’ll publish all your questions and answers, but Robin will reply to you. And if you have a question about the technology side of racing, Robin will pass these on to Marshall Pruett and he will also answer here.
Q: My last IndyCar race was at Kansas in 2006, but I just bought tickets to the COTA race! Your Mailbag has been a great resource as I got back into the series the last two years. As a first-time caller, I have to let you know that Cleveland would love its race back, Milwaukee would be awesome, and we’re all thrilled you’re healthy again. The momentum behind IndyCar and IMSA is fantastic.
A friend and I went to Mid-Ohio for the IMSA race last year. Let me tell you, those cars and fans are the real deal. We both left the weekend hooked and ready for more racing. Any readers who haven’t checked out the sports cars would have a blast at Petit Le Mans. St. Pete, Road Atlanta, and COTA would be a great start to our season. Is there any chance IndyCar can add that awesome track to the schedule with Michelin investing in the facility? I’d been on the fence about making the seven-hour drive to COTA for months, but the weather looks great and ticket prices are still reasonable. I’ll be in the top row of the Turn 15 grandstand Saturday and Sunday. The track is claiming Paddock Passes are sold out. Is there anything I can do besides call back and hope their story changes?
David, Oklahoma and Ohio
P.S. NBC Gold is worth the $50 and then some. Practice and the extra features are great, but they add the race commercial-free immediately after the broadcast for the real value.
RM: Road Atlanta needs work before IndyCar could run there (so we’ve been told for the past 15 years) so it’s doubtful. COTA sold 1,000 pit passes and shut them off, but had such a demand they reportedly sold another 500 and that was it. With F1 they obviously weren’t use to selling pit passes, so maybe you can try again when you get to the track. But I’ve never heard of paddock passes being sold out.
Q: As I watched the season-opening race from St. Petersburg I couldn’t help but notice the speed of the rookies and the experienced guys that have come in from other series. I also noticed after the race how happy and enthusiastic these same drivers were during their interviews – something that is never seen in F 1. And Rosenqvist’s comments were spot-on when he said, ‘I’ve never driver a car like this, it’s very hard to drive, and I’m worn out.’ I think the series is right on track with having a car that is hard to drive, races well, and gives everyone a chance to compete and win.
Rick Schneider, Charlotte
RM: Speaking with Marcus Ericsson after Friday’s first practice period, he was understandably happy to be in the top five, but thrilled to be in a competitive environment again after five years of slogging around in F1 just racing his teammate. It’s a field with a nice blend of young talent and veteran front-runners.
Q: Reading the intro to your last Mailbag, I could feel your pain. Here’s a suggestion that might work: a Virtual Private Network, or VPN. Canadians subscribe to a VPN and chose a U.S. server to connect through. I use PIA VPN, and I think it’s $39.99 a year and it covers five simultaneous connections a single subscription. This can be any mix of routers, computers, or mobile devices. So for $90 ($40 VPN, $50 NBC Gold) a year, Canadians have all the IndyCar they want, plus the peace of mind of having encrypted internet connections on all their devices; especially important on public wifi. I live in the U.S. and have used a VPN from Asia, connecting thorough a U.S. server and was able to watch Youtube, Amazon Prime, and my PlayStation Vue subscription including my DVR. I’m no techie and can’t guarantee it, but it’s super-easy to set up and I believe it will work. Just a suggestion that they could research further.
RM: Well, that’s all way over my head Scott, but I appreciate you sharing your knowledge and hopefully some Canadian fans can take advantage of your VPN suggestion.