Robin Miller's Mailbag for July 24, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Robin Miller's Mailbag for July 24, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Insights & Analysis

Robin Miller's Mailbag for July 24, presented by Honda Racing / HPD


Q: Wondering if you have any insight on Fernando Alonso rumors/leaks? Something I’ve noticed over the last two broadcasts – whenever Michael Andretti is interviewed he is wearing KIMOA sunglasses, a different pair at Road America than Toronto. Tell me I’m the only one who has noticed this – or is this just a coincidence? (Or did Fred give Mike a store display last year with every pair in the lineup). Glad to see you’re healthy, hope to see you at Pocono.

Tom from Philly

RM: You are very perceptive Tom, I hadn’t noticed, but I don’t think it’s any surprise that Michael likes Zak Brown and Fernando, and would love to run them again at Indy. But they need to bury the hatchet with Honda of Japan if Michael stays with Honda (which I think he will) for that to ever happen.

Q: Carlin is looking an awful lot like Dale Coyne did circa 2015. That’s not a compliment. They don’t seem to be holding down any drivers, and you can never predict who will be driving any weekend. Beyond that, they’re just slow. Do you see this trend ending or stabilizing any time soon? This is a dangerous trend, and I’d hate to see their position get any worse (though that’s hard to imagine unless they got hold of some Foyt setups).

Max Camposano, Moraga, CA

RM: Actually they did a really good job in qualifying (Karam was 14th and Daly 16th) considering how early they went out, and the fact there was only 60 minutes of practice to try and figure things out. Trevor Carlin’s team is still learning and it’s only year two and he’s a successful racer who will get it right, but right now he’s scrambling to keep two cars on the track. The team likes Sage and Conor, who will be driving the final two ovals for them, but it’s tough enough competing with Penske, Ganassi and Andretti if you have a test program, big budget and steady line-up – let alone when you are playing musical chairs with limited finances. FYI, Coyne had three wins by 2015, and it was a decade earlier that he cut corners, had a rent-a-ride and wasn’t a threat.

Time for some fun 2015-spec Coyne trivia: The team had eight driver changes across its full-time cars in 2015, shared between seven drivers – Tristan Vautier raced both the No. 18 and the No. 19. (Pippa Mann also drove two different entries: the No. 18, and the third No. 63 at Indy). Image by Levitt/LAT.

Q: First, is there any way to convince IndyCar and Iowa to have a night race permanently, even if it means having the race on a different date? The cars looked great, the racing within the field was terrific, and outside of the weather (which nobody can control), it was a fun race overall.

Now the complaint: Is there any way to satisfy the fans or get them to quit bitching about anything and everything? From moaning about not being able to watch the races in Canada (to those people I say, there’s got to be a way for you to watch on whatever outlet you choose, just pony up and pay); to complaining about the supposed lack of rain delay updates (there were plenty, especially from the track itself); to Penske domination this season (um, hello, it’s called racing, you’re supposed to try to be better than the other guy); to the inexplicable dislike for Sage Karam, a racer who got screwed by Ganassi for reasons not necessarily tied to racing, and who only needs a steady ride and some confidence from a team who wants him; to the constant crying by fans screaming, “Bring back _____________!” and then never showing up at _____________ and then get pissed that IndyCar isn’t listening to them; and then finally the complaints about the season not being long enough (Confession: I’m one of those guys).

Geez. All that bitching and moaning is exhausting. The cars look great, the drivers are top-notch, the racing is competitive, and the sport seems reasonably healthy. What else can you ask for?

Jake, Pasadena, CA

RM: Television is obviously a big part of the equation in scheduling races and starting times, but I do think NBC, Iowa Speedway and IndyCar will sit down and figure out how to make sure every future race is at least an 8 o’clock start because it benefits everyone. Like I wrote, it’s always smart when an IndyCar car is preceded by a NASCAR event because it helps the ratings, but in this case it’s a better TV product to run at night. And it’s better for the paying customers, who often aren’t taken into consideration. Sage has a lot of fans at the track, so I guess I’m not familiar with his detractors.

Q: I’m glad someone told me to set my DVR for a couple hours longer, as I wasn’t watching the Iowa race live. I’m impressed with how IndyCar handled the delays, and also impressed with the amount of fans that stuck around. I know if I was there, there’s no way I would have left early. That’s what us diehard fans do. I would also like to point out what a good commentator that the Dinger has become. I hope he can do more, especially with Tracy next to him. Now our town prepares for Mid-Ohio – can’t wait!

Mark Suska, Lexington, Ohio

RM: I was also impressed with the folks that stuck it out, and as I’ve said for a long time, Iowa has a lot of die-hard IndyCar fans. I thought A.J. did a fine job and played off P.T. quite well. His enthusiasm was obvious.