Robin Miller's Mailbag for June 12, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Robin Miller's Mailbag for June 12, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Insights & Analysis

Robin Miller's Mailbag for June 12, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

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Q: Hey Miller, hope you are doing well. Traveling yesterday, I saw Scott Dixon at the Detroit airport. It surprised me that he flies commercial. Wouldn’t Chip move his best driver on his personal jet? I didn’t approach him because I believe in their personal space, but Dixie was gracious and friendly to the people who recognized him. Classy guy.

Jon Jones, Oologah, OK

RM: Sometimes Dixie flies on Chip’s plane and sometimes Scott charters a plane for his family and takes along another driver or two, but commercial is simply more feasible for certain races. And, yes, he’s a world-class driver and person.

Q: Huge congrats on the award you received honoring your contributions to IndyCar. That photo of you surrounded by racing’s elite (Mario Andretti, Johnny Rutherford, A.J. Foyt, Bobby Unser) with those shirts is one for the ages. Speaking of Foyt, one of the things that makes IndyCar great is how often small teams can get to victory lane, so can you help us understand why Foyt drivers rarely get to the podium? From the outside, it looks like the team has everything it needs: ABC Supply is the most steadfast and reliable sponsor in the paddock, A.J. is one of the greatest drivers of all time, and they have a former Indy 500 champ behind the wheel in Tony Kanaan. But I see only two victories in any race since Kenny Brack won the Indy 500 in 1999, and most drivers don’t seem to stay there more than a year or two. What do smaller teams like SPM and Dale Coyne have that Foyt Enterprises doesn’t?

William in LA

RM: Man, William, if I knew that answer I’d have given it to Larry and A.J. a long time ago. You’ve got veterans like Eric Cowdin, George Klotz and now Scott Harner, but something is definitely missing. T.K. has always been a better oval-track driver than road racer, but like he said at COTA, “I’m not three seconds slower than Dixie,”. And Matheus started out in the Fast 6 as a rookie, so don’t think it’s the drivers. I asked A.J. if splitting the team was the problem, and he said absolutely not. Thankfully I think ABC Supply loves A.J. regardless of the results, but I know everyone on the team is embarrassed with this year’s lack of performance.

Everyone agrees that Foyt is missing something – but what? Image by Levitt/LAT

Q: My wife and I are attending Road America this year. Total cost for two GA tickets + camping + fees = $382. And that is with the $100 weekend early-bird ticket special! If we bought our tickets this week when prices go up, we would pay over $450. For comparison, that’s more than double the cost of our 2018 trip to Mid-Ohio (two GA tickets + camping + fees = $220). Tell George B. that if he wants to sustain the big crowds, they need to rethink these prices. It is a rip-off to charge people for a weekend ticket ($140) and a campsite ($40), and then charge them another $65 for a “camping wristband.” I love Road America, but it is hard to justify those kinds of prices when there are other great options for half the price within driving distance.

Justin in Indy

RM: I’ll forward your message, but does the wristband also serve as a pit or paddock pass?

Q: Great to see you are doing well. Why did Mark Miles have to open his mouth and throw shade on a possible IndyCar/NASCAR double-header? It’s obvious this guy could care less what the fans want. He is a total zero in that regard. He may be a great businessman, but if you don’t pay attention to your fans, you won’t have a series to run. The series has such momentum there is no need for his negativity. For all the good he has done (hiring Jay Frye), he has done equally stupid $^*! (ie: double-points and ending the season in September). They shouldn’t let him talk to the media.

I know you and the RACER boys love Colton Herta, and he’s most definitely the future of the sport, but it seemed to me he was tick over-aggressive with his move on Scott Dixon. I realize Dixon took the blame (and the high road, I might add) but the view on NBCSN showed Herta down on the white line on the apron where he lost grip and pushed up into Dixon, who could have given him more room. Hopefully his father or his team talked to him about how if you’re going to make that move – you need to make it clean or wait a lap when you have that good a car. I’m sure his sponsors (and his team) would have preferred seeing him on the podium and not on the wrecker. I know he’s young and aggressive, but it looked to me like Rossi let the kid go because he knew it spelled trouble. Smart move by Rossi.

Scott St. Clair, Erie, PA

RM: I didn’t read the story but I can assure you that NBC, Jay and NASCAR have talked about a double-header and it’s far from being a done deal or being off the table. Not sure why Mark wouldn’t want something that could raise the profile of IndyCar, so I’ll ask him this week. Double-points suck, but I think he inherited that edict. Young racers make bold moves and it would have been nice if both drivers gave a little, but they didn’t so that’s racing. Good, hard racing. And little Hertamania isn’t like any teenager I’ve run across since Kyle Larson.

Q: Would it be practical and/or financially feasible to have a Sunday Labor Day weekend race at the Speedway? Maybe a shorter race so that it doesn’t dilute the 500. Make it a 300-mile race. Call it The Indy 300. The Speedway is still by far the most exciting place for open wheel racing.

Bill, Nashville, TN

RM: Don’t think so. Two IndyCar races there are too many, so adding another would further dilute the mystique of IMS.

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