Q: I enjoy your TV role and your Mailbag. Thanks for the link to Scott Stiller’s article about PNC’s support of racing. PNC acquired Cleveland’s National City Bank about 10 years ago. We joke that PNC stands for Previously National City. So, do you think PNC would have any interest in being the title sponsor of a reinvigorated Cleveland Grand Prix at the airport? I could see two days of excellent racing featuring the MX-5 Cup, Porsche GT3 Cup, Michelin Pilot Challenge series, and of course IndyCar.
RM: Maybe if PNC’s headquarters were in Cleveland, but getting them on Dixon’s car was a major victory so I imagine they’re happy with a single car sponsorship.
Q: Saw you dining with your sports reporter gang at Iaria’s in 2017 – great bunch, hope you get to enjoy those colleagues frequently. The poster’s comment at the Mailbag regarding Mosport is on the mark. I wonder if a back-to-back in Toronto and Mosport could be made to work, then let the dust settle at only one of the two venues if that’s best for racing? Of course, for my money nothing beats the brats and racing at Road America! Your comments about roofed-grandstands and night racing are well-considered and stated; however, comfort gets many asses in the seats. If a venue wants it enough, shelter the throng – it can always rain, and if Mom knows they will be covered, she’s going to go! Maybe drag the young’uns too.
RM: Not sure many share the opinion that Toronto and Mosport could co-exist, but if they were spaced properly on the calendar or even run back-to-back with some kind of dual ticket it could work.
Q: This may have been explained before, but I haven’t seen anything on it. How is the new aero screen/halo different in design that allows the drivers to see better on the banked ovals? From its appearance it seem identical to the F1 halo which, I recall, was a problem as far as many IndyCar drivers were saying. I’m all for safety and I don’t feel this hurts how the car looks.
Al Schonberg, Rockford, IL
RM: All I can tell you is that Scott Dixon said it passed the test and IndyCar has been meticulous in making sure visibility isn’t a problem, so I’m assuming it will be fine at Texas and Iowa.
Q: The problem with Colorado Springs was that the track wanted a different date – August instead of June – and IndyCar wanted the track to install SAFER Barriers at the track or they wouldn’t come back, and they didn’t seem to want to budge on the date. The group that owned the track didn’t want to invest the money and ISC made them an offer to buy the track. This was the same time that ISC was considering building a track near Denver. The track accepted ISC’s offer, the Busch series race date was given to Martinsville, and ISC sold the track with deed restrictions that make it impossible to ever have a major race there again. And they never built their own track near Denver. While it’s possible that building the track north of Colorado Springs instead of south may have helped attendance, the fact is that attendance seemed to be growing each year. In the end Colorado race fans were screwed by ISC.
RM: Thanks for that history lesson, David. The two locations that hosted CART/Champ Car in Denver were fairly well attended, and I only went to Colorado Springs once and the crowd was OK but I just remember locals saying the track was on the wrong side of town to draw Denver people. I recall Roger Penske wanting to build a track out there, and maybe that was the same one ISC talked about. So chalk it all up to a lost opportunity?
Q: I realize it’s all about preference and we all differ, but I really had to shake my head at the letter about the simplicity of the current IndyCar wings/aero package. He says that the ‘cool factor’ of the Formula 1 wings is absent in IndyCar today but that is exactly why I like IndyCar racing again. If I want to watch clown cars with 526 vortex generators, hoops, loops, 37-layer wings with opening rear wing slats, multiple tire choices but mandates of how and when you use them, and race chassis that are about 95% controlled by the engineers from the pits and the driver is reduced to following the orders of ‘the man behind the curtain’, then I’ll tune into the Formula 1 race. While I realize that a lot of those things are still a part of ALL racing series in the 21st century, sheesh… give the driver a little wing up front, a little wing in back and let the driver actually drive the car.
Brad in Seattle
RM: I think Marcus Ericsson can give us a good analogy of what you’re saying. He’s having a fun time over here because he can make a difference and it’s more about the driver making the right move or tire choice than it is about all that technology. Last weekend was a good example of the drivers really having to answer the challenge of handling a rough, unforgiving surface in a concrete jungle with no room for error. It was hard and it bit some good drivers, but it’s supposed to be difficult.