Q: Not sure what race the writer (and the negative nellies on social media) were watching, but the NBC coverage at Road America was excellent, as it always is. I didn’t think the commercial breaks were excessive; certainly not “every other lap” as some put on Facebook. I recall only two “full” commercial breaks, the others being all side-by-side or non-stop (whatever NBC calls it).
For being on the big network, the coverage was excellent and the racing was spectacular. A constant battle for the lead does not a good race make. There was plenty of action throughout the field. There are so many ways to watch a race these days, so even during a full break, have open the free IndyCar app which shows lap times, track position and race info. I would like to put forth the theory that people who bitch about commercials on TV have never or would never actually venture to an IndyCar race. If you really want to watch the racing without a commercial, go to the track, pay for a ticket, and watch the damn thing in person (not to mention you will see USF2000, IndyPro 2000 and Indy Lights and meet those great kids).
I understand Road America is not logistically possible for everyone, but take your trade-off… watch with commercials or go watch it live and help the promoters and track owners. I have never been to RA, but don’t live that far. I’m going next year based on the rave reviews I’ve seen from this year’s event. Lastly, I enjoyed Dillon Welch, not sure why anyone was knocking on him. Great to see NBC bringing some fresh faces in. He knew his racing and did a damn fine job. God forbid bringing someone new and young to the broadcast do something like attract new and younger viewers. That might help the series grow a new fan base and we wouldn’t want that now, would we ;)
Chris, Oak Forest, IL
RM: That’s an interesting concept Chris — attend a race and never see a commercial. My pals are some of the biggest critics on the planet and they’ve never said squat about commercials, so I appreciate your take. And viewers got to see a lot of the really good racing because our producer, Terry Lingner, always finds the battles. Young Welch is a good open-wheel racer who does a fine job and will only get better.
Q: The Road America track store sells merchandise featuring the track’s length of 4.048 miles. Yet the TV broadcast and RACER’s article states that the length is 4.014 miles. Which one is right and if it is the second, when did it change?
David, Waxhaw, NC
RM: The official length according to Road America and the IndyCar media guide is 4.048 miles.
Q: People are always asking why IndyCar isn’t more popular despite its great racing. I think IndyCar and all the other racing series suffer from the same problem — even though the racing is good, the cars aren’t that exciting to watch. At Road America, the thing that got the biggest rise out of the announcers was Colton Herta’s four-wheel drift through Turn 1. I’ve been going to races since 1957, and that’s the sort of action we used to see all of the time. Even though the races didn’t use to be as close as they are now, we really didn’t mind because the cars were exciting to watch by themselves. Make IndyCars run rock hard tires and you’ll have a whole pack of cars acting like Herta’s.
RM: I think a combination of noise from big horsepower and cars stepping out both contribute to getting people’s attention, but I must say the past couple years you can see drivers sliding the Dallara around on road and street circuits. Having the tires go off helps make “drifting” through the corners a reality.
Q: I just read the article on Push-to-Pass on by Joey Barnes and I think the biggest problem is that everybody knows who is on the button and how much they have left. Why do they make that information available to the teams? If we can get the on-board data display panels working, you can display when the driver is on it so at least the fans would know. I like the idea of having to be within one second of the car in front (like F1 DRS) to prevent drivers from using it on in/out laps. Part of me says get rid of it completely. What do you think?
Jim Doyle, Hoboken, NJ
RM: I hate it that teams can see each other’s P2P and are able to radio their driver so they can neutralize it. I like the idea of just getting rid of it because it’s ineffective so much of the time.
Q: I’ve been thinking about IndyCar’s Push-to-Pass and the data being available to all the teams during the race and how the driver ahead is coached when the car behind it “pushing the button.” For this aspect of the racing to be truly effective, in my opinion, would be to keep this information hidden from the other teams. Yeah, having how much left for all to see, okay, but other than that it seems to just allow excessive coaching from the pit box. Thoughts?
Lawrence H., Sanford, FL
RM: Absolutely agree and a few years ago teams couldn’t see each other’s data – only the fans watching television could and that was perfect.
Q: My nomination for the Robin Miller Award for 2020 would be Donald Davidson. What a treasure of Indy 500 info he is. Also, I’m still waiting for that book! You should also convince RACER to let you to do a weekly column or story about the old USAC dirt track days and Indy in the ’50s and ’60s, or perhaps start a new website devoted to that subject. I think you would be surprised at the response once it gets going… love your winter videos on that subject.
Steve, Sacramento, CA
RM: Great suggestion Steve, double D is part of Indy lore. I think now that RACER has purchased Vintage Motorsports we may have a chance to do more ‘where are they now’ and old race stories. Thanks for watching.