Q: When CART raced in Toronto we had a weekend festival with 75,000+ on race day. Other tracks the same support. What would a CART race look like today if Tony George had not got involved?
RM: Tony didn’t have anything to do with Toronto’s decline in attendance. When Molson stopped sponsoring the weekend, the non-stop promotion and buzz that always accompanied the Molson Indy evaporated. You couldn’t walk 10 feet without seeing a sign or a banner, and there were street parties every night and a legit 65,000 on race day. Maybe not having the race in 2008 did a little damage, but I just think it’s a product of today’s racing landscape. If you can draw 25,000-30,000 it’s a good crowd anywhere except the Indy 500.
Q: I attended the IMSA race last weekend at Mosport and agree that Mosport would be a great IndyCar venue. As you note, since Ron Fellows took over, a huge amount of work has been done to modernize the facility, and I can’t see any reason at all why the IndyCars couldn’t race there today. Obviously, I’m not a safety expert, but it seems to me the only big area of concern would be at the bottom of the hill at Turn 2 (very fast, flat out, top gear corner) and possibly some work at corners 1 and 8. A prototype did go off during the race on Sunday into the tire barrier and the driver did get somewhat bruised, but no serious injury.
If this corner needed adjustment I can’t see it being a huge problem – Ron’s partners in Mosport are a huge property development company Orlando (who have more money than Roger Penske) and you can see their influence everywhere where facilities have been built in the last five years, and a lot of run-off created in many places. A lot of earth has been moved (Mosport is basically built on a sand a gravel pit) and contoured to create viewing areas and areas for spectators and motorhomes (hundreds, possibly 1000+ at the IMSA race). I would think the biggest issue really would be financial, since the Toronto race is promoted by Green/Savoree (whom we presume still make some money) and, as with every race you need a sponsor to pay the bills (really shouldn’t be a big deal, Acura was a co-sponsor of the IMSA race and Canadian Tire invest in Mosport already). To me a huge crowd at Mosport would be a no-brainer – it really is the home of Canadian motorsport. Your thoughts?
Mark Kidson, Toronto
RM: Bobby Rahal thinks IndyCar would draw a good crowd, and Townsend Bell thinks IndyCars could run there without any problems. I asked Helio on Sunday about it and he said a couple of corners are really dangerous, but the LMP1 cars go as fast as an IndyCar through the turns there so why not? Could you run Toronto and Mosport? Absolutely. Two different crowds – downtowners and campers. MIS and Belle Isle coexisted in the CART days, and the more races in Canada, the better.
Q: Even though it appears Rossi is destined for Andretti beyond 2019, say he went to Penske. It’s been reported Cindric likes three cars and nothing is official until it’s official. Would Penske be a three or four-car team next year?
Mark in Cincinnati
RM: If The Captain got Rossi it would be a four-car team, but a lot of us are hoping he stays with Michael to preserve the balance of power. And after speaking with Andretti last weekend, I think Rossi and Honda will both be back with him in 2020.
Q: What happened to Sage Karam that he lost four laps? What happened to Marcus Ericsson? I know he was in the runoff on the lap 1 incident, but didn’t seem like there should have been any real damage. What happened to Will Power? I’m not talking about why did he finish 18th, I’m talking about who stole his confidence. What really set off Bourdais and Sato? If you gave me Vegas odds on IndyCar drivers likely to get in someone’s face, I think Sato would be towards the bottom, ahead of maybe only Zach Veach. I saw your interview post-race with Ferruci and Bourdais… if you gave me some odds, I would put Ferrucci near the very top. What was attendance like? Each of the available grandstands looked like they had most of the seats filled.
Ryan in West Michigan
RM: Sage broke the toe link after brushing the wall and that ruined his race. Marcus was avoiding a crash in Turn 8 when he got rear-ended and suffered big suspension damage. Power is pressing and simply trying too hard. Read my fight story that was posted Monday. Stands were full, but probably no more than 15,000 seats total so maybe 20,000 at the race.
Q: Interesting choice of words from Robbie Wickens to start engines… “Future Drivers of Mine, Start your engines!” Can we read into this as his future as a potential team owner?
SoCal in Sun
RM: It certainly was, but I have to think he’s talking about competing against them again some day because he’s made it clear he wants to be the example of how to come back from a spinal cord injury.
Q: Wish Robert/Arrows/HPD/IndyCar could send his video to every hospital/rehab center treating patients with back injuries similar to Robert’s. Hope, and a positive attitude, can help overcome many health issues.
RM: I’m sure they can grab that video off YouTube and use it for inspiration for people with spinal cord injuries.
Q: I thought Rossi ran over a hose on his stop, and a rerun sure make it look like he did? Did he, and what would be penalty?
RM: From Race Director Kyle Novak: “Running over an air hose constitutes a pit safety infraction and may be penalized with a post-race monetary fine, drive through penalty, or stop and hold depending on the severity of the infraction considering the impact on safety and competition.” Rossi did run over a hose, but it didn’t endanger other cars or a crew man, so the team will get a monetary fine.