Robin Miller's Mailbag for March 27, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Robin Miller's Mailbag for March 27, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Insights & Analysis

Robin Miller's Mailbag for March 27, presented by Honda Racing / HPD


For Ganassi, stickered reds are preferable to scuffed. Image by LePage/LAT

Q: IndyCar is better because of no power steering, no tire warmers, no track limits. Why are scuffed reds better than sticker reds? And, if they are, why don’t teams use practice to scuff them in? I recall back in the day there was a maximum fuel allotment that teams sometimes struggled to meet. Is that allotment still in force? I can’t recall anything recently about teams being short on fuel.

Rick in Lisle, IL

RM: Let’s ask Mike Hull, the managing director of Ganassi Racing:

“We don’t think that scuffed reds are better. Sticker reds or blacks, in our opinion, are preferred. Those who started the race on scuffed reds went 12 to 14 laps, later in the race, those on sticker reds went 16 or 17 laps. IndyCar has a fuel allotment number based upon what they think the mileage should be – everyone now makes the number, with some amount of management, but based upon we now make, there is more window. At Austin, without the yellow, those that stopped with 18 or 19 laps to go, would have had to slow to save a bit at some point during the run to make it, the yellow saved them, and screwed those who stopped after the pit lane closed. You want to run full rich in the last segment, so at Austin you assume when calling the race that you needed to get to 17 to go to do just that. Power, Rossi, and Dixon were victims of the math. RHR stopped one lap before the yellow, while Colton’s group were at least two laps prior – if it hadn’t have gone yellow, Power, Rossi, Dixon would have run full rich – Colton’s group would have had to make fuel to the end.”

Q: I didn’t know Father Glenn O’Connor real well, but since about 1989, he let me and another priest stay at his house, the parish rectory for race weekend. He got us rides to the track, he got us garage passes. We rode home with him after the race the year he worked on Scott Goodyear’s team and they lost at the last minute to Jacques Villeneuve. On race weekends, he would have weddings, say Mass and still run to the track. We still stay at St. Joe’s even after he left there. I know he worked hard to support programs that helped those in need. We really enjoyed his enthusiasm for racing. But we admire him even more for being a truly dedicated and faithful priest. I just wanted to add my own words of appreciation for Father Glenn and to say my own thanks to you for taking the time to honor him in Sunday’s broadcast.

Father Pat Stewart, Diocese of Lexington, KY

RM: Your story sounds like Glenn’s life: always helping somebody every day,  and I truly never remember seeing him without a smile. He loved racing too, and blended his profession with his passion. Never been a kinder soul.

Q: Hope you had a great weekend at COTA. Just wanted to say how great the quality of NBC Gold is, and what a big difference I noticed between an IndyCar practice session versus a NASCAR broadcast. When watching the IndyCar practice sessions, P.T., Bell, Kevin Lee and yourself were talking about the car. The setups. Dissecting every little bit of information about the car, especially when Herta blew a motor, and focusing on what’s important in qualifying and race set-up. They don’t spend so much time going over the beginners’ guide to a race weekend, or waste our time talking about what the drivers did over the weekend.

It feels like NASCAR practice sessions are just routine filler focusing too much on the previous week, drivers’ social media etc. I’m an avid fan of both motorsports series; , however, I feel it’s a disservice to fans watching practice and not being given the information and guidance to what’s important in a race weekend. NBC Gold gives us true IndyCar fans what we want: stats, information and the occasional joke, but at the end it’s all around a true practice session. That’s informative and exciting when building up the race weekend. Thanks, Robin, for the great coverage as well. Really look forward to seeing you in pit road during the sessions.

Joe, Shelton, CT

RM: Thanks Joe. I told P.T. and Townsend that their information on Friday when they were in the pits (and Kevin and I were in the booth) was informative and interesting but not too technical. You always hear somebody talking about changes to a car (ride height, camber, wedge) but it’s never explained what those changes really do, and it was good TV from a couple of guys who know what they’re talking about.

Q: As the American novelist Kurt Vonnegut once said, “In this country, you get what you pay for.” Nothing could be truer when it comes to NBCSN’s IndyCar Pass. Yes, we used to have a live video stream on YouTube, and yes, we had the IMS radio network audio, but the contrast couldn’t be more stark. In past years, the audio was completely disconnected from the video, there was no timing and scoring overlay and there was no audio during driver interviews. Now we have a genuine, professionally-produced broadcast with plenty of information, both digital and with interviews, and coordinated audio and video. For me, watching a race without first seeing practice and qualifying is like reading a book, but starting with the last chapter. IndyCar Pass fills that void.

Now, allow me to offer a few suggestions. Get that Peacock Pit Box and set it up at a key point on the course at every race. Jon and youself were terrific in it at St. Pete. And I like how you guys switched up with Kevin and yourself in the booth at COTA. Maybe Marty and Kelli in the booth, and Leigh doing the interviews. And during the weekdays, it would be awesome to have a recap/preview/interview show. Nothing fancy; just some analysis, banter and speculation. Great work and keep it up!

Don Davis, Chardon, Ohio

RM: Appreciate the feedback, and kudos Don, the idea was to make NBC Gold a full-blown TV show on the internet. That Pit Box belongs to NASCAR and we just borrowed it for St. Pete, although we get to use it again at Long Beach and Indy. It’s a nice change of pace, and easy on old people’s legs.