Robin Miller's Mailbag for May 15, presented by Honda Racing/HPD

Robin Miller's Mailbag for May 15, presented by Honda Racing/HPD

Insights & Analysis

Robin Miller's Mailbag for May 15, presented by Honda Racing/HPD


Danica Patrick delivered a rare “crowd louder than engines” moment at Indy in 2005. Image by Kim/LAT

Q: I am about a third of the way through reading all the responses to your question to your readers of “What Makes a Good Race?” I would like to add this: The 2005 Indy 500 when Danica Patrick finished fourth was a “good” race. When the crowd in Turn 1 (including me) realized that Danica was leading the race coming down the front stretch, a crowd roar erupted that was the loudest crowd cheer that I have every heard at any sporting event before or after. Later she had a good duel with Wheldon. So for me, that made the 2005 Indy 500 a great race. That cheer can be heard on YouTube. Check it out.

Ron Ford, Muskego, WI

RM: I think watching history being made is paramount to your experience. Rufus topping 150 mph, Sneva breaking the 200 mph barrier, AJ winning No.4, Danica leading.

Q: When you can hear the crowd noise over the engines, that is a good race!

Joe Weiss, Spooner, WI

RM: First time I remember that happening was 1982 when Mears was stalking Johncock, and then in 2005 when Danica took the lead.

Q: It is 4:00 on Sunday afternoon as I write this. Is the yellow for Helio’s spin over with yet? Seriously, that caution was eight laps for a car that spun and was pushed away. Do we have a lame excuse from IndyCar why they wasted four-five laps on that caution? The caution where a car actually crashed into a wall was four laps, and the other where two cars spun was three laps. There was no reason for that being more than three-four laps.

Mark in Cincinnati

RM: From Race Director Kyle Novak:

“Each Full Course Yellow (FCY) presents Race Control with a differing set of circumstances and scenarios. You may have noticed that the two FCYs earlier in the race were shorter than the third and final FCY. The major difference between the first two FCYs and the last FCY was that the last FCY featured a wave-by as an added procedural step, and the prior two FCYs did not. The sequence goes as follows; after the pace car has picked up the leader and the field has been neutralized, the pits will be opened to cars at the first opportunity. If the leader should pit and cars not on the lead lap choose to stay on the race track, we now have cars either a lap down, or the tail end of the lead lap between the pace car and the leader.

“In order to ensure that the leader leads the field back to the Green Flag, we “wave-by” those cars past the pace car so they may take the restart at the back of the running order. When we issue the wave-by, we again close the pits so that there is no incentive for the wave-by cars to race by safety vehicles attending to both the incident scene and track clean-up efforts. As an added complication during this step, the rain began to intensify as the wave-by was issued and the cars taking the wave-by were not able to pack-up to the back of the field as quickly as normal as they were still caught out on dry tires, leading to added laps that would not have normally occurred during a dry condition.”

Q: Even though it was cold and a little wet, the Indy Grand Prix was a really good race. But, what I don’t understand with IndyCar, especially at IMS, why did it take so long to get back to green after Helio Castroneves’ spin? Even at the 500 there are times it takes forever to get back to green. I’m all about safety, but I’m not spending money to watch cars parade around under yellow! Looking forward to the upcoming Indianapolis 500!

Brian Lancaster, West Lafayette, IN

RM: Read the explanation above.

Q: Great race Saturday. Hats off to Pagenaud, and Harvey and the Shank team. Just one question. Why was that last yellow so freakin’ long?

John Fulton, Akron, Ohio

RM: It’s all about wave-arounds, closing and opening the pits and getting everyone lined up correctly. I know it was an eternity, but that’s today’s protocol.

Q: What’s going on with Felix? In qualifying he’s always super fast, but since his amazing move at St. Pete he hasn’t set the world on fire in the races like we thought he would. Do we need to worry yet, or were we just spoiled by Wicky Bobby and Felix is just learning how it all works?

Jordan, Warwickshire, UK

RM: I really thought he’d win last Saturday, but he seemed to lose his pace after Dixie passed him for the lead. I still think he’ll win a race but he’s figuring out tires, tracks and his car, so it’s a process. But Colton seems to be catching on quicker.

Q: Can you shed some light onto what happened to Juncos and its sponsors? Usually, everyone has most if not all of their money locked up and signed. I know last minute deals happen, but this is not normal. Just curious, and I would love to see them compete at Indy and get a shot at more races next year.

John Balestrieri, Greenfield, WI

RM: The sponsor backed out, which is probably better than not paying at the end of the month, and that’s happened to teams many times. I talked to Ricardo today and gave him the name of a potential sponsor, so he’s trying to make something happen.