Q: Lousy blocking call on Rahal. As Tracy and Bell said, he made his move to the right before Dixon attempted to go there. Maybe there isn’t much difference between blocking and protecting, but this looked a whole lot more like protecting his line and setting up the next corner. Dixon still had an alternative on the left (and even some room on the right), and had Rahal moved a second time, then definitely blocking. Lousy call. But then, are they going to rule against Dixon and Ganassi?
RM: I guess my take is that it was the last lap and Rahal was doing what everyone else in that situation would have done, but he got penalized.
Q: BMW to IndyCar in 2021 is the hot rumor that is floating around. Andretti, thanks to its Formula E connection, is the lead team to be connected with BMW. Also connected will be McLaren. It gives Zak Brown the resources to sign Alonso to run IndyCar full-time, and it has a second car for Colton Herta (who drove for Rahal’s IMSA BMW team at the endurance races). Plus, it’s a manufacturer that Alonso hasn’t pissed off, to my knowledge! BMW enters with a big splash and two big-name teams (and one big-name driver) to start its IndyCar program in style. What do you think?
Brad Stevens, Orlando, FL
RM: Well, we will give you full credit, Brad, if this becomes fact. It would be great to have a power like BMW, but not so sure Andretti would leave Honda at this juncture. Zak sounded like McLaren fielding two cars is possible, with or without Fernando, and having a young gun would be paramount. I do know he had a meeting with Pato over the weekend, so it sounds like he’s serious.
Q: I read Marshall’s article on the rookies with the view from their engineers. We have seen what Herta, O’Ward and Rosenqvist can do, and flashes from Ferrucci and Ericsson. What is your read on Santino and Marcus? Is Santino over-using his tires and Marcus making little mistakes that cost? Barber was fairly mistake free for Ericsson.
Dino, New Hanover, PA
RM: Ferrucci is a gasser and shows some flashes of big-time, while Ericsson seems to be enjoying his second career and is learning the nuances of red tires, pit stops, etc., but definitely looks racy.
Q: I was wondering what the status was on Juncos racing? Is Kaiser confirmed for the 500, and will they run any more races? Also, did JR Hildebrand get confirmed for the 500? Is Katherine Legge rumored to be in the running for any rides? How many more driver announcements do you foresee, and do you see them coming anytime soon? Finally, I’m curious, what is the best food you’ve ever gotten at a racetrack?
RM: Talked to Kaiser at Long Beach and he’s trying hard to put a deal together to run Indy for Juncos. J.R. said he’ll have a ride, and Oriol Servia should be confirmed any day now. Haven’t heard anything about Legge. Best food? Rusty’s barbeque at Alabama, brauts and fried potatoes at Road America, murder burgers at Eldora and King Taco at Long Beach.
Q: Watching IndyCar qualifying and saw you interview Zak Brown. Is it just me, or is it a big deal that Zak was in Long Beach and not in China?
Brad Heuer, Coeurdalene, Idaho
RM: He was racing a vintage sports car, but I think he was also doing some scouting and sleuthing for next month. And beyond.
Q: I took my six-year-old son to his first race this weekend at Long Beach. The crowd and venue were great. And my son did not care much that we literally did not see a single pass in the race. Despite being the most boring race I have ever seen, the experience was great, and I think my son may be hooked on racing.
RM: Excellent, can’t start ’em young enough, so good for you, Chris. I’ve seen every LBGP but the first one, and last Sunday wasn’t even close to the most boring. At least there was some good racing from third through ninth. Long Beach isn’t conducive to great racing, but I’m glad you enjoyed yourself.
Q: As we all know, if you don’t bring money to get an IndyCar ride, you probably ain’t gonna get one. Can you name some drivers that could compete well in IndyCar, but don’t have the funding to do so? Thanks for keeping IndyCar alive and well!
Ed Johnson, Elkhart, IN
RM: I would put Sage Karam at the top of the list, and I think if Ed Carpenter had the budget he’d hire him. Matt Brabham looked like a sure thing at Andretti before the funding fell through, but I’d give him a shot as well. And this Oliver Askew kid looks like the next Ladder regular that should have a ride.
Q: You talk about the odds and wagers from time to time in the Mailbag. Given Pato O’Ward’s performances in what Max Chilton makes look like inferior equipment, where do you think he drives in 2020? I think Ganassi and Andretti are out. I could see O’Ward finding a fair amount of sponsorship to be attractive to Rahal or SPM. Is he back at Carlin for another season, or does Penske pick him up before it becomes too expensive to do so?
Ryan in West Michigan
RM: I’m hoping Trevor Carlin can find the funding to sign him up and upgrade his program, but Zak Brown seems interested as well. I think Penske is stalking Rossi right now.
Q: I just read the article on Aaron Telitz on RACER.com. I’m glad he’s getting some publicity. AIM Vasser Sullivan is to be commended for giving an opportunity to an extremely deserving American driver. You will hear from Aaron in the future, I’m sure!
Joe Weiss, Spooner, WI
RM: He’s a good racer, and it’s cool to see JV wants to help a young American like Jim Hayhoe did for him way back in 1992.