Q: I decided to break down and provide a counter against those complaining about NBC and the weather for Race 1 at Detroit. Years ago I crewed an ASA race in Toledo. We had funnel clouds bouncing around the racetrack. Rain was coming down so fast the storm sewers were backing up into the track. We had the car as high as it would go on the jack stands to keep it out of the water. We helped retrieve other teams’ tires that were floating away. You are standing in water or in large aluminum trailers surrounded by lightening rods. It’s amazing no one got hurt.
NBC did a good job with what they had to work with. It’s not safe to have the crews out there with lightening, not to mention the camera guys standing up on temporary metal towers, aka lightening rods. Those complaining should get their butts off the couch and go stand on a 25-foot tall metal tower in 40 mph winds and lightening.
John Balestrieri, Milwaukee Woodwork
RM: Thanks John, it’s amazing there was any racing that Saturday with all the lightning and storms, and when they evacuate the island that tells you something.
Q: Another long-time reader, first time writer with, sorry, another complaint about the NBC Gold package. However, I am glad I have it and do not mind the cost. But could you please teach the people in the editing department how old math works? Today I finally had a chance to watch a replay of the Texas race. It started out fine, but about halfway through, the same problem I had with Barber cropped up. Since there are no commercials, it seems like NBC Gold likes to cut back and show earlier laps of the race.
After I decided to write this I kept some notes – they went from Lap 148, to Lap 228, then back to Lap 171, in a span of a minute. Then we got to see Hinch back running in the race (several times) after we saw his interview outside the track medical facility. We also saw Rossi’s last pit in, cut to JoNew’s donut, cut back to Rossi’s pit out. I could not tell you the number of times we saw Rossi make the same pass on Dixie for the lead. So again, could you please explain that laps are counted in old math and are sequentially numbered (and should be easy to keep in order)? It would be nice to be able to see the whole race. I never did see how JoNew ever got to the front, or even take the checkered flags.
Terry D., Lexington, KY
RM: I’m sorry Terry but I have no idea what happened, so I suggest writing to email@example.com and explain the situation. And let me know what they say.
Q: I’ve come across a few responses in your Mailbag recently about the chance of IndyCar coming to Montreal in the foreseeable future. It’s not a wild idea as they’ve raced in the area in the past, on three different tracks. One of them of course being Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, which rebuilt the paddocks this past year for $59 million Canadian of public money that taxpayers would like to see recouped fairly quickly. No question there’s a history and affinity for motorsports here, IndyCar included. So is there something you know that we in Montreal don’t, or is that some wishful thinking more than anything else?
Alex in Montreal
RM: All I know is that IndyCar spoke with Montreal and were told there might be interest, but it couldn’t be until at least 2021. Champ Car was a big hit there back from 2002-2006, but Carpentier, Tagliani and Bourdais were competing and the French-Canadians turned out to cheer them on.
Q: While I’d prefer better exposure on NBCSN, count me in for more Miller Time on Gold Pass. They should give you a 30-60 minute informal show and let you sound off with whoever/whatever you want. Wide open. Also, one of my favorite things about attending the 500 every year is tuning the radio to catch the Talk of Gasoline Alley with Donald Davidson (and thankfully available on podcasts too in May). Following up to the Andretti documentary, would NBC also consider some programming with Donald featuring icons and great moments in the sport? Donald is a national treasure for the IndyCar nation. Adding visuals to his stories would be icing on the cake, especially for racing fans unfamiliar with him.
Aron Meyer, Tucson, AZ
RM: I appreciate your support and I imagine by next year we’ll have a better idea of what is needed, wanted and what we might be able to do for NBC Gold. We have a couple things on the shelf, so hopefully we’ll be able to get some historical pieces on the site.
Q: Question about the qualifying broadcast for the Indy 500. PT and Townsend were saying how important the trap speeds were at the end of the straightaway. During the broadcast, some of the cars had the trap speed info and some did not. I believe it was Townsend that said “that car is not providing the telemetry.” My question is: why would certain cars provide the telemetry and others do not?
Tim, Prosper, Texas
RM: IndyCar says it’s a system problem they’ve been chasing all season, and they believe the root issue has been isolated and being addressed.
Q: I am about your age. I started racing at age seven in 1957 in quarter midgets, which had no roll cage. My dad raced jalopies and modifieds in the ’50 and ’60s in Southern California with Parnelli, Vuky II, Don Edmunds and the like. He was offered a sprint car ride just before Parnelli but turned it down because he was a married man with two kids and didn’t want to leave us without a husband/father. He lost a few close friends, as did everybody back in those days. But sprint cars were open-cockpit rockets and he calculated it was too dangerous at that time and put his family first.
And I remember when talk of putting roll cages on sprinters first came up. I also remember being at a racing association meeting with my dad, and it got pretty heated. There were lots of reasons given for why roll cages would ruin the sport, but in the end, as we all know now, nothing of the sort happened. Instead lives were saved and injuries reduced. And there’s still nothing as exciting as a sprint car or midget race on dirt.
I think the new windscreen/halo or whatever they end up calling it will be the best thing since the SAFER barrier. And with technology being what it is today, we can look down over the driver’s head right into the cockpit or even get the view from atop his helmet, so we can see more of the driver and the new cage won’t prevent that. I hope the naysayers will rethink this whole thing. By the way, have any of them ever put their necks on the line to drive an IndyCar?
Jim Patton, Lindale, Texas
RM: I recall Bob Grim and Bob Tattersall, two fabulous USAC midget racers, being adamant that cages were the worst things possible back in the late ’60s because they would cause the cars to bounce forever. But I think time shows us that we’re always skeptical of changes ,and IndyCar’s new windscreen is the best compromise for safety and not losing the identity of an open-wheel car.