Q: IndyCar needs to do something to level the playing field. It’s boring for Penske to win all these races, I am tiring of it! Look at Canada, in F1 all you need to do is drive for Mercedes. I don’t understand why they even have races, it appears to me to be terrible waste of resources. In nine races, Penske has five wins. Dominance with a capital D! IndyCar needs to end the custom shocks, dampers, etc. They need to use a single rear wing, because I believe the problem of the cars losing rear grip and backing into wall (on ovals) really hurts the smaller-budget teams. Let’s be smart, a little more downforce is needed. Penske is looking more and more like Mercedes, and it’s pissing me off! Truth be told, everybody hated the IRL before Penske and Ganassi came back and the series became IndyCar, but I really liked the idea anybody could win. Today that’s just b.s.
RM: Well we could add two wheels or make all the cars run on Kool-aid and Team Penske is still going to be a dominant factor, because it’s one of the greatest teams in motorsports history and it features three of the best drivers. But please don’t compare IndyCar to F1. Colton Herta won a race with one of the smallest teams, Takuma Sato dominated Barber, and Alexander Rossi could easily have three or four wins so it’s nothing like the Mercedes massacre. And I’m pretty sure a lot of IRL die-hards hated it when Penske and Ganassi abandoned CART for the IRL.
Q: What a year for IndyCar! The rookies are definitely making things interesting competition-wise and are competitive near the finish of the race. Then you throw in guys like Rossi and Newgarden at their peak, these next few years are going to be great! IndyCar really has to find a way to market these rookies and help them retain sponsorship for next year and keep them around. Why wouldn’t IndyCar consider doing a doubleheader next year at a track like Texas or a market that they would like to return to, say, Nashville, Kansas, Chicagoland, etc? You could invite potential sponsors, teams that are interested in being in IndyCar and engine manufacturers. OK, we would be a support race, but think of it as a way to market your series more and poach a few more fans from NASCAR, or gain new fans when they can see drivers like Herta, Rossi, and Ferrucci make insane passes like we saw at Texas.
Don, Milwaukee, WI
RM: Probably can’t do a doubleh-eader next year but maybe by 2021, and it would be good for both series. IndyCar can’t really control whether drivers keep their rides and sponsors unless it would pay teams to keep status quo, and that’s not going to happen. I think the last time IndyCar spent money on a driver is when Tony George paid Al Unser Jr. to come to the IRL in 2000.
Q: What are your thoughts on Santino Ferrucci?
RM: Nice kid, fearless and pretty damn talented.
Q: What a great race on Saturday night. Someone needs to show Sato where the brake pedal is located – still a big fan of his. Then you had all the young stallions showcasing their talent – if you’re older than 30, look out guys, they are coming after you. You have to give Conor credit for running a good race and finishing only one lap down, not bad for a one-off deal. (Someone please give this guy a competitive full-time ride). Passing all night long for every position… what more could anyone ask? Glad you are getting more face time on TV both Friday and Saturday.
RM: That was the old Sato (remember Pocono a few years ago when he slammed into RHR in the pits) but not the one who has been driving so smart and so well these past few years. He just badly overshot his pit, and fortunately the crewman wasn’t badly injured. I enjoyed the race, and the rookies shined again.
Q: The Texas race was a lot of fun, and was run at a blistering pace. The battles between Dixie and RHR up front and Rossi and Hinch for P3 made the first half of the race fun, and then the crashes started and Newgarden’s crew gave him the position he needed to compete for his win. This made for an extremely fun chase for position back to P5, with Herta in the mix. Rossi made what could be the greatest save I’ve ever seen. I was listening to his scanner frequency during the near-collision. He hollered “Holy ___!” and meant it. Rossi was testing out an outside pass to eke out a photo finish win, but by four to go, it was clearly Josef’s race. All in all, it was still memorable.
Also I would like to praise TMS as a terrific facility, with outstanding staff. TMS is extremely fan-friendly, especially letting everyone onto the track and into the pits and garage area after the end of race. That being said, the annual Texas race has always been appointment television for me in the past because of the wild two and three-wide racing, enough to motivate me to finally fly in from Chicago to see it in person this year. But this and last year’s races were not that at all. This Texas race reminded me more of Iowa Speedway races, where a handful of dominant cars start putting the lesser cars laps down before 15-20 green flag laps in.
I enjoy the racing at Iowa, don’t get me wrong, but I was hoping for an insane two- and three-wide Texas classic, and instead got an entertaining and competitive race, but not exactly what I was hoping for. So can we as fans ever expect to see the classic pack racing at Texas again?
Andrew McNaughton, Chicago
RM: Hard to say, everyone seems satisfied with Saturday’s aero package that rewarded good setups and big balls. It doesn’t have to be a pack race to be exciting, as you said and as we saw, so between Firestone and IndyCar it looks like they hit upon a good combo. Rossi’s reaction was instantaneous, and his in-car camera told the story.