Q: How do you not drink after doing the Mailbag all this time? I’ve never seen so much bitching. People — NBC has a business to run and face it, IndyCar is a niche sport in the real world; weather happens; if you think Marco can’t drive, re-watch the slicks out-lap tape; and Race Control is a contradiction in terms. That said, two good thoughts from this latest whine-fest — a regular Robin “Apparently Not Ready For Prime Time” Miller show on Gold Pass, and a full-season contract for that badass Detroit chopper pilot.
RM: I don’t drink but I’ve considered starting on about Hour 6 of certain Mailbags, but most of the time it’s fun to interact with fans and hear their opinions or theories. Sure the bitching gets old sometimes, but I guess that’s part of our public forum. That helicopter pilot was a badass, and Marco on slicks in the rain was some badass car control.
Q: I’m glad people care enough to write to the Mailbag but, oh my God! I’ve only read three of 10 pages so far in June 5th’s Mailbag and I want to strangle several writers. I too got caught out by the first race in Detroit because of the weather. TFB for me. When I realized what happened, I read about it, then I watched what I had. NBC did what they could with the broken eggs they had. None of us should have a problem with how things were handled. Learn a new phrase – that’s the way it goes, or TWIG for short.
If a race has a fair amount of commercials, guess what? That’s good! It means ad people are spending money because they think people are watching IndyCar racing. It’s no worse than any other sport. Marco came up in last week’s rants too, and the guy made solid points. He always seems to have memorable races in Detroit and his name has $$ clout $$ but, really, it’s way overdue for him to step away from full time racing and be an Indy-only driver. Look at what Conor Daly did at Indy, and what he does in his patchwork appearances. Give Marco’s ride to Daly for 2020. I won’t ask what his chances are for replacing Marco, because I know the answer. I’m glad Daly had a ride at Carlin for Texas. What are the odds he’s going to be in the Carlin car for the rest of the ovals?
Eric Z, Lancaster, NY
RM: I truly don’t know what people expect when the weather is so violent and unpredictable like it was in Detroit. And I’m numb to commercials in any sporting event, but can IndyCar be any worse than most? As for Marco, he’s the conundrum of the past decade and I have no explanation, because he does have talent and car control, but lacks the hunger of Daly, who did an excellent job at Texas. I would hope he gets to run Pocono and Gateway, but it could come down to money for Trevor Carlin.
Q: Just now reading this week’s Mailbag, my first-thing-every-Wednesday favorite website. What caught my eye was this from “James, Columbus, Ohio”: What about weekly Robin show on NBC Gold? I am sure many fans would sign up for that! Personally, I’d happily pay $10-20 per month for a weekly 30-minute Robin Miller videocast, and there may be many, many more racing fans that would do the same. I know from personal experience the demands such an effort would place on you, as well as on lots of others who would be required to produce, edit, distribute, etc, etc. And perhaps, all things considered, it might be more than you’d care to deal with at this stage of your life and career. But perhaps it’s something to consider. I’m all in!
Chuck Lynch, Greenville, SC
(76 years and counting)
RM: Sounds like fun, and talking requires little effort; we’d just have to see if NBC was game and if we could do it without involving a bunch of people or money. Maybe a weekly podcast of great Indy moments or something like that I could do from my home. Thanks for your support.
Q: It is sounding like Pocono’s future is up in the air (again). What gives? It seems like attendance has trended up the last few years, it is sponsored, and starting next year Pocono Raceway will only have one racing weekend with the Cup double-header. It seems like it should be a sure thing. Do the drivers not want to be there anymore? If Richmond comes back I was hoping it would be an additional oval, not a replacement for our only other 500-mile superspeedway race. What chance do you think it has?
Dennis C., Streamwood, IL
RM: I don’t think anything has changed with Pocono, it’s going to come down to whether it wants to continue hosting and if IndyCar wants to keep racing. If Richmond is added then that could change things, but still too early to tell. And I would change it to 400 miles with only 22-23 cars. But I haven’t heard any negative complaints from the drivers.
Q: A couple of dreams of mine that I know won’t come true, but I’d love to hear your opinion on: 1. Can we pretty please go back to Fontana? Great track, great racing, perfect place to end the season. 2. Can we pretty please bring Watkins Glen back? In my humble opinion, the best racetrack in North America, and it certainly deserves a place on the calendar. 3. Can we swap Colton Herta and Marco Andretti? Everyone needs to get real about how every year it’s gonna be “Marco’s year.” No it won’t. It will never be his year. If he wants to run in the middle of the field for three more years that’s fine, but let Andretti Autosport put that No. 98 in the hands of someone who can actually do something worthwhile in it. 4. McLaren team up with Harding and Andretti to run a full-season car in a similar capacity to how they run Harding now. If that gives Andretti too much power, let them do a Harding-type deal with Ganassi. Throw Alonso in for a season or two, then get someone young and exciting like O’Ward or even someone from across the pond to groom into a champion. 5. Three-wide starts at Pocono. Maybe that’s supposed to be just for the Indy 500, but the track is definitely wide enough and it would be pandemonium. 6. Get one NASCAR driver and one IndyCar driver to do the double in the same year. Cross-promote the hell out of it, benefit both series enormously. 6. One weekend of NASCAR and IndyCar sharing the same track. Again, cross-promotion, huge spikes in attendance, everyone wins.
Max Camposano, Moraga, CA
RM: Fontana likes IndyCar, but only at night in the fall when it’s cooler. The Glen likes IndyCar as well, but fans don’t seem to like it enough. Michael might add Colton sometime soon, but Marco co-owns the car and isn’t going anywhere. Alonso has no interest in running the full season, and Zak Brown said the other day to RACER’s Chris Medland that McLaren needs to get Indy right before thinking about a full season. If you only have 22 or 23 cars, you don’t need a three-wide start at Pocono because you may quickly have 11 cars for 500 miles. Remember the U.S. 500 in 1996? Better chance having an IndyCar/NASCAR double-header.