Q: I was relieved that the Iowa start was delayed, and that they made the decision to run the race Saturday night. Lots of bitching on RACER.com about having to stay up past midnight. Hey, if you can’t stay up late on Saturday to watch one of the best races of the year, have the nursing home staff change your diaper and go to bed. I love that track. If you didn’t think that was a good race, despite domination in the lead, then you can’t be satisfied, apparently.
I’m quickly becoming a big Ferrucci fan. He’s a racer. What I do not understand is why NBC scheduled it the way they did initially? The IMSA race had already run. Why not show that, or an edited version of it after the Xfinity race, and keep the viewers informed (in case they didn’t already know, which seems unlikely for real IndyCar fans) that the IndyCar race was coming up live at 9:00? Some people seem to think that the East Coast is the only time zone in the United States. The Iowa race was not entertaining to me when it was run during the day. There is absolutely nothing wrong with starting the race at 9:00 EDT, and ending at maybe 11:30.
Also, glad to see Zach Veach have a good run. I am starting to detect a pattern at Andretti – only Rossi is running well consistently. I’m wondering if Rossi has adopted the insular European attitude of not sharing setup information with his teammates? IndyCar continues to go from strength to strength, and I’m loving it. Keep up the good work.
RM: Bitching on RACER.com? Say it ain’t so. As for NBCSN’s strategy, it wanted to start the IndyCar race on the heels of the Xfinity race because that’s a great lead-in and any NASCAR event usually helps our ratings. But I think all parties will agree that Iowa must be run at night in the new contract. Rossi shares info with everyone at Andretti and vice versa. They’ve just missed at Iowa lately after dominating.
Q: You recently noted in a Mailbag that the Iowa race was more affordable than many races because hotels do not gouge. I’m attending the race this year for the first time and I can tell you that hotels are gouging. What normally are $90 rooms are now $225. I went this year because I’m committed with tickets but I will not return. Ticket prices are high as well.
Ken R, Geneva, IL
RM: Sorry to hear that. I was going by the hotels in and around Altoona, but I figured the ones close to the track would jack up their rates. But the gentleman in the letter before yours got $30 seats that were just fine, and that’s certainly not too expensive. The $160 club seats are pricey, but between the rows halfway up in the grandstand and paddock passes it seems pretty affordable in this day and age.
Q: Hey Robin, you certainly earned your $$$ Saturday night. Tons of airtime for you at Iowa! Were the stands there anywhere close to full before it started raining? Was out of town for work all week and got back just in time to consider walking up for the race. Ended up staying home, which was a good decision in hindsight, considering the start time. But pushing the race so late pretty much guaranteed the place looked empty on TV. Wouldn’t a Sunday late morning re-schedule have made more sense? This race needs all the help it can get, and an 11 p.m. start doesn’t help.
Jeff C., Des Moines
RM: No, it was sweltering in the sun and nobody in their right mind was going to go to his or her seat before the race started – even before the weather moved in – and ticket sales were reportedly up eight percent, but would half of the 30,000 seats been occupied? We all looked at Sunday’s forecast and it called for day-long rains, so getting the race run (even at 11 p.m.) was the right call.
Q: I thought it was a great race Saturday night, too bad it didn’t end earlier than 2:30 a.m. Eastern. My question is, do you think anyone has anything for Newgarden this year? He has the most poles, most wins and is the points leader with only five races to go.
Rob K, Erie, PA
RM: Considering there was a red flag 50 laps in for more rain it’s amazing it wasn’t later, but maybe we got decent ratings on the West Coast. Of course it’s been a good year for Newgarden, but Rossi and Pagenaud have also been untouchable five times (and Sato once) so it’s going to be a battle to the end – especially with those stupid double points in the finale.
Q: What was the cause of Newgarden’s anger after qualifying in Iowa? When you interviewed him on NBCSN after qualifying he appeared to be very upset. After the interview it appeared that he wanted to talk to Rossi, who was otherwise engaged in his own interview with another media outlet. The TV commentators said that they had never seen Newgarden so upset. He is usually very upbeat.
Bill McGuire, Knightstown, IN
RM: He was just pissed off because he’d been the only driver to crack 18 seconds in practice and clearly had the best car, so starting third behind his two teammates didn’t sit well. It was uncharacteristic of Josef, but totally understandable. And I correctly predicted in our NBC production meeting he was going to kick everyone’s ass in the race, because standing down in the corner watching practice it was obvious he had no peers. If the race ran in the sun it would have been a bigger rout than it turned out.