Q: I started watching motorsports in 2015, starting with NASCAR, and quickly migrating to IndyCar, Formula 1, IMSA, and WEC. One thing that has frustrated in my short time of watching motorsports is the lack of American blood in world championships like Formula 1 and the World Endurance Championship. Now this is starting to improve, with the Haas F1 team, as well as a few teams like Keating Motorsports starting to make their mark in the WEC.
But it is frustrating that we are not seeing any young American drivers looking to be a shoo-in for F1. To me, SMP Racing is a great example of getting drivers of a certain nationality into global motorsports. If you were to organize an effort to get some American blood into Formula 1 and other international racing series, what would you do? And who are some American drivers that you think would be a good fit for Formula 1?
Cory Harts, Rocky Point, NC
RM: First of all I don’t think F1 wants any Americans, and if I was a young talent like Herta or Ferrucci I’m not sure I’d want to go drive some slug that’s six seconds behind Mercedes and Ferrari. Pato O’Ward could have a shot with Red Bull and all three of those kids are advanced beyond their years, but seem addicted to being competitive and that’s what IndyCar affords them.
Q: Since the Red Bull Air Race World Championship has been cancelled, would IMS be interested in replacing that date with a Formula E race? Any truth to the rumor Andretti Autosport is considering moving from Zionsville Rd. to the old Speedway Transportation Museum? What is the likelihood of Sonoma and Watkins Glen being back on the calendar in 2021? Greater than 50 percent chance Ganassi brings Rossi over to his team this coming off-season?
Mike in Indianapolis
RM: I hope not, the last thing we need is another race at IMS – let alone one without any noise. Haven’t heard the Andretti rumor. Zero chance of Sonoma and The Glen in the immediate future. Less than a five percent chance.
Q: In the Indy 500, Sage Karam did exactly what he needed to do by keeping the car clean and finishing the race. While it was only a P19 finish (he lost a lap early and couldn’t catch that lucky break to get back on the lead lap), the most important thing was no crash damage bill for Dreyer & Reinbold. Sage talked about the possibility of he and DRR doing more races later this year, likely a street/road course instead of an oval. He specifically mentioned Toronto as a possibility. How are things looking for them to enter another race later this year? Do you think that will happen? And is there any chance for him to fill in for Carlin?
Austin, Nazareth, PA
RM: Dennis Reinbold said they’re discussing potential races for the second half of 2019, but nothing official as yet. If Trevor has the funds I would think Conor’s performance at Texas would have earned him the ride for Pocono and Gateway.
Q: With all the talk lately of a NASCAR Cup/IndyCar double-header I think it’s a no-brainer for both! We can all see the empty seats at most ovals from both series, and I can’t see how this wouldn’t help select tracks by providing a great bang for the fans that attend the races? How many different series race at Long Beach with constant action? Now the biggest benefit for IndyCar would be opening up suitable dates so they can race at Texas on a cool Saturday night in March. Same with Fontana? Michigan, or maybe a good short track?
It would be great if they could match it up with NBC, but IndyCar needs the spring dates at certain tracks, and I agree with not competing with football… they need TV ratings bad! So why does it seem that Mark Miles is not too fond of the idea?
Joe from Fishers
RM: The No. 1 reason to have a double-header would be because both races would be on NBC and co-promoted as such. The No. 2 reason would be because ovals are dying a slow death and need some kind of a spark to get people engaged. Not sure if Miles is against it as much as he is wary of NASCAR out-drawing the IndyCar show.
Q: Not just yes, but hell yeah to a double-header. I’ve thought for years that something along those lines was just what the doctor ordered. I love all sorts of racing and see no reason why it wouldn’t work well. The only problem is that I’ve heard on more than one occasion that Brian France was adamantly against that sort of thing. Maybe now that he is out of the picture, thankfully, this could work. I sure don’t see any downside to it.
RM: I don’t think France would be involved in this type of decision, but he likely doesn’t have the clout anymore to affect it.
Q: Kudos to you for the article promoting a twin bill of IndyCar and NASCAR races at TMS. This could be a paradigm shift that could actually excites and garners both a substantial live TMS and TV audience. The idea parallels the longstanding music concert billing strategy where fans attend because they love one of the headliners but don’t know much about the other – but learn to enjoy the new group when they get actually experience them! The “super weekend” with sprint cars and Gordon’s trucks – even better!
In your opinion, is Jay Frye the man with a foot in both camps that can make this happen? Second question – also in the “paradigm shift” vein – could you also make a case in print for ditching the boring Brickyard 400 for a IMS NASCAR road race (which would be exciting a la Watkins Glen) or (as a compromise) a twin bill at IMS where both a road race and shorter (thus better) oval race replace the Brickyard 400?
Ed K in San Diego
RM: Jay is the No. 1 reason it’s gone from idle talk to a potential reality and along with NBC’s interest it’s got a real chance, but yes, Frye’s NASCAR connections are the key. I love the idea of the Brickyard becoming a road race because The Glen and Sonoma have become two of Cup’s best shows, but I don’t think NASCAR likes the idea. I was told it would look like it failed on the oval, but supposedly Xfinity plans an IMS road course test this month.