Q: I love the idea of an IndyCar/NASCAR double-header, but my preferred location is Michigan. One thing to consider in the fall off of oval attendance is the price. Oval tracks are over charging and pricing themselves out of the market. The Glen does well but their prices are lower for adults, and for teenagers they’re just $15, and for kids under 13 it’s just $10. For a family of four that’s far more doable. Yes, spicing things up with a double-header would be cool, but oval tracks (ovals are way better!) need to lower their prices significantly. It’s counter-intuitive, but they will make more by charging less.
Tom, longtime IndyCar fan from Minnesota
RM: I covered USAC IndyCar/stock car doubleheaders at MIS in the ’70s and there have been some great races, but not sure MIS has any interest in open-wheel.
Q: In an effort to increase exposure for IndyCar do you think it makes sense to pursue returning to the Meadowlands? I know it was a terrible circuit in both the original and the revised configurations that were used back in the ’80s and ’90s, but I think with the infrastructure available, it could be made to be as good as any other street race we have now. Seems to me it would be a great market to be in as it is so close to New York. I would think that all the players that were involved in breaking the contract and attempting to move the event to NY way back when are no longer involved, so there shouldn’t be any bad blood left over from that.
Glenn, Jackson, NJ
RM: No, I don’t think anyone cared back then (CART was promised great coverage by the NYC media and got zilch), and I’m sure they have zero interest today.
Q: I am sure you get asked this question a lot as does Roger Penske himself, but has he ever thought about joining the F1 ranks? I understand that Gene Haas is already there, but they have already admitted they do not think an American driver is ready, which I think is BS. Penske brings a lot of funding that could supply a good F1 team and he has a bevy of drivers he can pull, but hopefully an American.
My only gripe about it is I don’t want him pulling one of the IndyCar guys because I want IndyCar to have better drivers, but I also want to see Rossi, Newgarden, etc to get a chance to show these guys in F1 not only an American driver can race in F1, but also IndyCar has some of the best drivers in the world.
RM: Doubtful. The Captain fielded a full-time F1 team from 1974-76 after running a couple races in 1971 with a McLaren (Mark Donohue finished third at the Canadian GP). Penske’s own models didn’t have much success until 1976, when John Watson scored the American team’s lone win in a PC4 and also added a couple of third places, but R.P. closed up shop in 1977 to concentrate on IndyCar and NASCAR. Unless you get JoNew and Rossi a seat with Mercedes or Ferrari, doubtful they could show anybody anything.
Q: So Simon Pagenaud, Roger Penske and crew go to the White House along with the No. 22 and Borg Warner to celebrate the Indy 500 win with the President, yet there is no story on RACER.com or Indycar.com. What’s up with that?
Joe in Turlock
RM: To be truthful I didn’t know about it until the next day, and Team Penske didn’t publicize it. IndyCar and IMS chose not to run a story because I guess they were concerned about the anti-Trump sentiment.
Q: Did Trump ask Penske and Menard what it’s like to be a real billionaire? And why did they even go?
RM: I thought Pagenaud explained it quite nicely. It wasn’t a political event, it was chance to celebrate a sporting accomplishment like has been done forever, and Simon was honored to be in the White House with his team, sponsor and car.
Q: Will Roger Penske or some other car owner start a new open-wheel series to compete with the IndyCar series by having more American drivers and/or all or mostly ovals? Would you prefer this over the IRL IndyCar Series?
RM: Well, go back to 1996 and then trace the next decade and tell me how having two series worked out. No, nobody is crazy enough to try an all-oval series right now, and IndyCar’s diversity is what sets it apart from every other series in the world.