Q: With NASCAR doing a double-header at Pocono next year and ARCA always having two race weekends at Pocono, what are the chances IndyCar welcomes ARCA to run the same weekend for Pocono to add a support series for the weekend? Would be great to make that a same day Sunday race. Practice and qualifying Saturday, then run ARCA at 11:00 a.m., IndyCar at 2:00 p.m. start on Sunday. That equals two full days of track action.
Andy, St Marys, Ohio
RM: Lots of questions – will IndyCar still be at Pocono, and would ARCA be interested? But I like the double-header format.
Q: I am so glad I waited to write until this morning. I so appreciate your piece just published about the LBGP vs. the possible Angels’ new stadium. What a damn stupid idea, and an insult to boot! I never have lived in Long Beach, but I went to college there and remember attending a concert at the Arena. We didn’t drive yet, so our folks had to drop us off and pick us up. Try finding a pay phone in a safe place to call and wait for a ride home… it wasn’t easy. Now look at downtown Long Beach! I agree with you that the Grand Prix helped to put and keep Lone Beach on the map as a go-to location.
I thought this weekend’s turnout was excellent. The stands were filled on Sunday for the IndyCar race. Friday’s autograph session had good attendance too. There were people everywhere (and buying food, souvenirs, etc.). I would hate to see not only my local race disappear, but it would also ruin downtown. I hope this threat does not come to fruition.
RM: Obviously baseball is big business, and what they could offer Long Beach seven months a year would be substantial. But right now it’s just talk, and Jim Michaelian is going to try and get some details in the coming weeks.
Q: I was very happy to hear the announcement that Jarett Andretti will be competing in the Freedom 100. Hopefully it’s the medicine that John needs, I know he’s going through a tough time. I remember you mentioned that Jarett’s fellow short-tracker Chris Windom would be making another attempt at the Freedom 100. But I have yet to hear an official announcement. Did that deal fall through? Also, as a big fan of domestic car brands, is there any chance that Ford (despite their previous insistence otherwise) or Dodge could be competing against Chevrolet and Honda once the new engine formula hits the track in 2021? Thanks for all the great IndyCar and USAC coverage you provide on RACER, and continued good health,
Gregg Rauscher, Port Colborne, Ontario
RM: Yes, very cool, the seventh Andretti to compete at Indianapolis. Windom’s announcement was made Tuesday, and he’s driving for Brian Belardi and David Byrd next month. Ford said years ago it has no interest in IndyCar, and I doubt if anything has changed.
Q: Regarding the letter from Jeremy in Indianapolis: my wife and I have attended every F1 weekend at COTA since it opened. We are long-time F1 fans, it’s a beautiful facility and Austin is great area to visit in the fall. (The year of the monsoon rains excepted!) But we opted to stay home this year after looking at the increasing cost/decreasing value equation (check their actual on-track activity schedule for an F1 weekend) though the concerts the last few years have been a nice addition. We talked about hitting the inaugural IndyCar race at COTA but the timing just didn’t work, but that is definitely on the calendar for next year.
I think that there are probably other F1 fans looking for racing that would enjoy Austin for IndyCar, and Jeremy’s suggestion of an open-wheel “package” deal could benefit the COTA gate for both IndyCar and F1. I bet that Jeremy is onto something: maybe COTA’s marketing folks should be surveying their ticket holders for interest in doing both weekends.
RM: Some kind of discount ticket for an F1 fan could be useful, but I just wonder how far people come to go to COTA, and could they afford two trips?
Q: In regards to the track limits not being enforced at COTA, I’m all for it. The last thing I need to see is more officials impacting the racing. There’s not much worse than spending six hours watching a WEC race only to find out the next day that a third of the podium finishers were disqualified for another minor infraction. If they paved it, let them race it. Don’t want them to race on it? Jackhammer it and fill it with gravel or cover it with bumps unsettling enough to cause a naturally enforcing time loss.
As for the complaints about the cost of the NBC Gold package, try this out for size. Become a member of the IndyCar Nation Fan Club at the Champion level for $34.95, which is sometimes discounted like it was during the month of May last year. ICN members got $10 off the Gold Package, plus merchandise and race ticket discounts. If you go to a race in person, you get the perks of the fan club like garage tours, press conference access and/or victory circle photos with the race winner! Who knows, that access might lead to Robin Miller himself handing you a podium cap during the winning driver’s never ending photo shoot. (Thanks Robin!)
After all, if you’re hardcore enough to watch practice (we’re talkin’ about practice), you are hardcore enough to benefit from the IndyCar Nation. Combine the membership discount I got last year, the savings on merchandise, the 20% off Iowa race ticket and this year’s Gold Package discount, I’m sure I saved enough to cover the cost of this year’s NBC Gold Package. I’m really enjoying the current state of IndyCar, especially with this awesome looking bodywork and its aero changes and the great roster of diverse drivers we have now, which has made live races appointment viewing like it was during the Target/Zanardi CART era rather than taping the races and watching them later on like I had been doing in recent times.
Jeff Barak, Minneapolis, MN
RM: I dismiss all those who moaned about track limits – it was a fantastic road race for crissakes. Thanks for the tips about the Indy Nation Fan Club and benefits, good to spread the word if we can save fans some money.