Robin Miller's Mailbag for July 31, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Robin Miller's Mailbag for July 31, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Insights & Analysis

Robin Miller's Mailbag for July 31, presented by Honda Racing / HPD


Q: Fantastic race (on TV anyway) from Mid-Ohio. Tons of strategy not caused by yellows and pit closures, but by tires and fuel. Kudos to Firestone.  Sadly, the finish was significantly hampered by lapped cars. I realize they’re racing for position, but come on, 15th on back? With 10 laps to go, OK, but with 3-6 laps left, it was absolutely ridiculous. Young Felix deserved to win that thing.

Greg in NJ

RM: Race director Kyle Novak: “Race Control has the discretion to order a command blue flag on any car that is one lap down to the entire field. This rule is the same for ovals and road courses. In other words, a car that is in jeopardy of being put a second lap down to the leader is eligible for the command blue flag. Once the flag is ordered, the car receiving the flag has one lap to cede the position to the pursuing car or face further penalty. At Mid-Ohio, the only cars that were eligible for the command blue flag during the entire race were the No. 5 and the No. 7 due to the first lap incident in T4/T5.”

Q: Attended the race this weekend at Mid-Ohio for the first time and was impressed with the access to everything that you get with IndyCar compared to other racing series. Now to the question… Towards the end of the race Rosenqvist clearly had the faster car than Dixon, but was held up by lapped traffic, particularly Chilton and Andretti. Is it time for IndyCar to punish drivers for ignoring the blue flag? We were treated to a great finish, but perhaps it may have been even better if lapped traffic hadn’t played a role. Also, thanks for signing my NBC Sports hat!

Sam Smith

RM: The No. 30, No. 59, and No. 98 were racing for position at the end of the race between a slowing Dixon and a charging Rosenqvist. They really had no place to go. It’s ultimately the consequence of an all-green race. Lapped traffic has always been part of the game aside from the above rule and late race re-order procedure under FCY, and the teams need to handle it amongst themselves. I saw Dario go down and talk to Carlin in that closing salvo, obviously to ask for some relief for Felix.

Q: I thought the rules in IndyCar were similar to F1 regarding lapped cars. Cars on the lead lap shouldn’t have to fight to pass them as if they were fighting for position. Shouldn’t the lapped cars have made it a bit easier for Rosenqvist to pass, or was the situation different because the lapped cars were fighting for position among themselves?

Bill, St. Petersburg, FL

RM: Please read the two answers above yours. Dealing with lapped cars at Phoenix and Milwaukee was always part of a driver’s craft and made for a lot of exciting moments, whereas road courses and street circuits are much more restrictive so it’s much tougher – and more frustrating. Tony Kanaan pulled out of the way at Mid-Ohio while Chilton, Marco and Sato were caught up in their own race.

Q: Mid-Ohio was an awesome race that had all sorts of twists and turns in it. The fact that The Master (Dixon) held on just tells you how good he is – one of the greatest. Rosenqvist drove a helluva race – pushed Dixon but didn’t wreck him; Newgarden just went for it as always – maybe not the smartest move, but he is a pure racer. And that was just part of a great day on a tough track before a great crowd. Poor TK… I think the season has sucked the energy from a great racer. Any chance he comes back? Any chance Foyt just folds? I was concerned that they couldn’t keep up with higher level of competition this year, and it doesn’t appear they are up to task and improvement hasn’t been there.

Bill Cantwell

RM: I think A.J. wants him back, but not sure T.K. wants to return at this point. Tex threatens to quit every now and then and I know it’s no fun for anybody right now, but it’s his life and Larry’s future, so he’ll keep going.

Without wanting to put words in Kanaan’s mouth, it’s a safe bet that this is not the most fun season of his career. Image by IndyCar.

Q: The German GP was fairly entertaining. Let’s see… multiple pit stops, strategy calls, tire management. They took a page from the IndyCar playbook, agreed? Mid-Ohio was great again. I was hoping Felix would get his first win. It’s shaping up for a spectacular run to the end of the season.

David, Traverse City, MI

RM: It was like watching an IndyCar race and it featured some actual drama and uncertainty, which is why people should want to watch. Felix will get there.

Q: That sure was an excellent race on Sunday! How did RHR end up getting past Power? Did it end up being tire strategy? Also, I saw that Will still had 43 seconds of PTP with two laps to go. Please tell me he used it all by the time he crossed the finish line.

T.J. Spitzmiller, Sarasota, FL

RM: It’s a lame excuse but I’m in the pits so I can’t see half the action and I have no idea how RHR got by, but I interviewed Will afterwards and he simply said they made the wrong selection on tires and that buried him.

Q: Great race! Dixon’s the man! IndyCar proves again why it’s the premiere racing series in the world (my opinion). NASCAR with its “stages” (three races in one – how can they justify calling the Daytona 500 a 500-mile race?). And as I watch the German Grand Prix with F1’s generic tracks (they all look the same) and predictable winners, it’s too bad the old Formula 1 tracks of yesteryear with their character are long gone. IndyCar is a true test of a driver and team’s ability to excel.

Joe Weiss, Spooner, WI

RM: The rain actually made the F1 race pretty damn entertaining, but you are correct, most weekends IndyCar has the better racing from start to finish and an element of surprise that usually doesn’t exist in F1. The other thing is that even when Newgarden or Rossi or Pagenaud have checked out this season, the racing from second to 15th has been splendid. NASCAR races are way too long and usually need a GWC to have any kind of compelling finish, although Kentucky with the Busch brothers was fantastic and Harvick holding off Hamlin at Loudon was good too. I agree with what you say, I just wish more people would watch IndyCar.