Q: Robin, your comments about Rick Mears appear to have worked with the NASCAR Monster Cup Series this past weekend. The restrictor plates were removed but huge rear spoilers and other aero changes made the cars interesting and created better racing. When IndyCar gets more horsepower and less downforce, the racing should get even better. Formula 1 needs to address all this in 2021 rules redo. The attendance comments were so true regarding why people are less likely to show except for certain types of events in certain areas. As a fan who grew up watching with my dad in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s at Michigan and Indy, the circumstances have changed dramatically. Thankfully the variety of tracks new stars and great coverage has IndyCar back on an upswing. A double-header with NASCAR would be great to get interest going. Let’s get some drivers from IndyCar on dirt or at the Chili Bowl again, too. Back to the roots. Keep up your great – work no wonder Hurtubise hired you.
Craig Bailey, Palm Bay, FL
RM: That Mears guy is pretty sharp and he’s been preaching about more power and less downforce forever, but he’s right because it’s making IndyCar races better and tougher. Watching the in-car camera of Rossi at Road America or Rahal at Toronto just illustrates the ragged edge a driver’s got to be on. Herk hired me because I was free help and he fired me because I was a liability.
Q: I would like to get your honest opinion on something Indy-related. But first a little background on me. I’m 68 years old and retired about two years ago. Certainly not rich – I always had blue-collar warehouse jobs. I did manage to save a little when I worked in the hopes of fulfilling a couple of bucket-list items. I’m torn between getting an online racing set-up or getting a ride along with Mario Andretti. I’ve followed IndyCar since right before the rear-engine invasion, so I go back a ways. I’ve followed the Andretti family since then, and Mario has always been my idol. Thing is, I can’t get both of these; I can only pick one. In your opinion, is the ride worth the $3,000+? I would love to feel the sheer speed of doing 200+ around the Speedway, but then I saw where you took a ride around the road course and seemed to feel the G-forces and braking more than would be felt on the Speedway. The online thing would provide more over the long run of course, but could never match the feeling of a ride, I’m sure. If you had to pick between the two, which would be your choice? See you in the pits at Iowa!
RM: If you are a diehard (and all signs point to that), you must take a ride with Mario. And I would suggest Laguna Seca if possible so you can experience the acceleration, braking, G-forces, elevation changes and handling on a scenic road course. I was lucky enough to ride with him there in 1999 and it was the best; I just wish all the mechanics and engineers could experience it to see what takes place at speed.
Q: In last week’s always-thought-provoking Mailbag, a viewer said that “Pocono would be beautiful under the lights, as it’s already a beautiful place during the day.” There will be ten trillion mosquitoes anxiously awaiting a decision from Brandon Igdalsky. I would love for that to happen, don’t get me wrong, but it’s in the middle of the PA woods surrounded by lakes and forest. Beautiful place, but Bug City.
RM: I have to agree, Bill. I was at Pocono in 1972 when it rained for two weeks, and all the stores ran out of repellent because we were under siege from mosquitoes. Night races on ovals are cool, but Pocono is fine during the day.
Q: You can’t be serious about beating the traffic, right? The last 40 laps at Indy are always the best – you would miss the unreal finishes we are often treated to these days! I’ve found that by staying in my seats to watch the post-race, leaving the stands after they drive the winner by, and then killing about an hour rehashing the race with my friends in the Dotlich lot at 10th & Polco, I can then drive fairly unimpeded down 10th Street to downtown and go get an ice cream on Monument Circle. Spend a little time contemplating what I just saw, and begin anticipating next year. (Still can’t believe Rossi didn’t win this year).
Rick K, SD, CA
PS: 10 months until my 50th 500!
RM: Those were just the rambling of an old man, Rick. I’d probably stay for the finish if Bill Simpson let me watch from his Turn 2 suite. That’s good to know your escape plan, and it sounds like you’ve got it figured out. I was counting my money (I bet $200 on Rossi at 7-1) with two laps left but no win-place-show at Indianapolis.
Q: When the new IndyCar chassis comes out in 2021, will this make DW12 obsolete? Lower-budget teams used to buy year-old chassis back in the day, allowing them to get on the grid. This seems like a good way to raise the car count and make IndyCar appealing to newer or smaller teams. (See Juncos)
Kris in Kokomo
RM: IndyCar is looking at that option, but nothing is yet finalized so stay tuned.