Robin Miller's Mailbag for May 8, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Robin Miller's Mailbag for May 8, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Insights & Analysis

Robin Miller's Mailbag for May 8, presented by Honda Racing / HPD


Bob from Milton, WI says: Spec cars are boring. We say: BMW M1 Procar championship. *mic drop* Image by LAT

Q: Spec cars is what I don’t like. I liked the various engines and chassis. It was exciting to wonder what the Lotus would do in ’63, and the turbine. Sameness is boring, and that’s what we have today.

Bob, Milton WI.

Q: I think my description of a good race may be completely different than most. I want to see the racers race with absolutely zero interference from the sanctioning body to influence the outcome. If Billy has a better setup and drives away, so be it. If a team chooses to pit late or early and it doesn’t work out, oh well.

So Willy whined about pit closures, so what do we see at the next race? A yellow comes out, cars pit and there is some concern that some may not have enough fuel to finish the race without pitting again. So IndyCar ran the caution period for an extra three or four laps to make sure all would make it to the end, and the fans loved that they “let them race.” No they did exactly opposite of letting them race, and it was BS. We see way too much interference and whining that the fast cars need to be slowed down so others could win. It’s called racing – if you want a participation trophy, go somewhere else.

I am tired of fans saying they need spec cars, and even that Roger Penske should build the shocks for everyone. People who say that have no idea what the shocks do and how customized they are. For those who don’t know, go to your local short track – many of those late model teams have shock dynos in the trailer and build custom shocks as needed. Even Mr. Johansson wants spec F1 cars. With spec cars, Ferrari wouldn’t exist – he should check history.  Oh and if we wanted spec cars then IROC would still be going on. Wow, how exciting to see the NASCAR boys beat drag racers in stock cars at Talladega.

Oh BTW, this same crap happens at local quarter-mile tracks – constant rule changes so their buddies may have a better chance of winning. And how many times did NASCAR change the ‘NASCAR hates Matt Kenseth’, I mean the chase rules, trying to help Dale Jr. win a championship? Ye,s some may need to check history to see how the chase came about – in short, a damn northerner won the championship quite easily, and NASCAR started making changes to make sure that never happened again and championships would be won by the good ol’ boys from the south. And it has worked out great… oh wait, actually it didn’t.

Mike, Northern CA

Q: Back in the day, you had guys winning by a lap or two, and we applauded and didn’t complain. I think the biggest reason for that was, the cars were the show. 1000hp, absolute beasts to drive, with a dozen different combinations of chassis, motors and tires. Yes, you had some all time greats driving, but, that hasn’t changed. We have some all time greats driving now. What changed was the car! They’re not as exciting, they’re all the exact same, minus the motor. There’s no innovation, there’s just “here, this what you are all driving.” So, the car isn’t the show, and the drivers are great, but you can’t see personality behind the helmet.

Keith Schmitz

Q: You and I aren’t getting any younger…and not just guys our age, but everyone needs to focus on what’s important, enjoying what we have while we’re here. Front-engined roadster vs rear engines, turbines, aero packages, IRL/CART… strip all that away, and we still get to see amazing, brave men do some pretty incredible things in these crazy fast racing machines. I’ve seen Gordy hold off Rick, Rick and Michael swap passes, Al, Jr nip Scott, Arie hit 237, AJ’s last ride, Helio climb the fence, JR in the wall and on and on…and someone will do something at this years 500 that will make me go “wow“!

Every time I meet a driver, the first thing I do is say “thank you.” I’ve had a lot of thrills watching these guys do insane things behind the wheel while I sit on my butt and get entertained. And I’ll continue to be entertained. Is it perfect? No. Could there be changes that might make things better? Probably, but it’s still great fun, and why waste what time us old-timers have left missing the point? Just enjoy the show we have. It’s still pretty darn entertaining.

Tim Shipp, Evansville

Q: I enjoy watching the IndyCar races, but I grimace every time I hear a driver slowing down to conserve fuel. Fuel economy is admirable for the family vehicle, but not race cars. Races should be won by the fastest car driven by most competent driver, not by a computer decision in the pits. Could we have just one oval race without fuel restrictions?

Kevin, Wheaton, IL

Q: What do you consider good racing? What are the prerequisites? For me, great racing (and any great sport) has to have uncertainty. In F1, I know one of the Mercedes, Ferraris or Red Bulls will win. If you get something like a Ferrari stuck behind a slower car, you know they’ll just breeze past with DRS – it’s passing, but it’s not racing. In times gone by, unreliable cars used to add to the uncertainty, but this aspect has largely been taken away from us now. I also think you need cars competing closely, as it creates uncertainty. I recently watched the last five laps of the ’92 Monaco Grand Prix on YouTube, and even though Mansell had no hope of getting past Senna, it looked fantastic because at every corner he was right up the McLaren’s gearbox, at risk of losing his nose. We have uncertainty and close racing at nearly every IndyCar race, and Formula E has also shown this at every race this season, so I’m hooked on both championships.

When do you change the channel? I change the channel when I know what’s going to happen. I keep trying to watch F1 but usually give up after five laps of nothing happening, or when there’s a boring DRS pass. I actually fell asleep during the recent Long Beach GP. I also stopped watching one F1 race when they showed a replay of a driver running wide; he literally drove over a painted white line and then back over it again, and they thought this was worth replaying!

Q: What if F1 and IndyCar are up against each other? With F1 vs IndyCar, there is no contest. IndyCar is motor racing, F1 is just motor sport. I’d love for F1 to make real changes in 2021 which make this a closer contest and which would bring me back as a fan. Until then, I’d love more people to embrace IndyCar or Formula E instead of dismissing them for the smallest of reasons. I think they’re the two greatest racing championships in the world.

Paul Rayner, Yorkshire, UK