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: Frankly, I don’t see the upside for either series with a double-header. What if either race is a true snoozefest – how does that help interest in your product? And the opposite, what if both races are great? How does that increase anyone’s interest in the other’s series? But I’d reconsider the idea if, and only if, it were to happen at Fontana in the fall, if only to show those short-sighted fools running IndyCar that you can go up against football and win. 

My other thought on such an event is the IndyCar still sees itself as the stepchild of big bad sister NASCAR and capitulates to them in all things racing – and that’s bad for them to do – and that if this idea were to work, that somehow it becomes a prelude to IndyCar selling out to NASCAR and becoming just another part of the France family empire. I’m totally against that. Thoughts?

Jake, Pasadena, CA

RM: The upside is a lot of good publicity and the hopes you can fill some of those empty seats at all the ovals. Who is to say a Jimmie Johnson fan might not take a liking to Santino Ferrucci? So what if one or both races weren’t barnburners, the two biggest series in North America on the same card is worth a try. And why would IndyCar be a sellout to NASCAR? Just because it might be an ISC track? I think both series have bought into NBC’s wish to work together, and this would be a great start.

Q: As for the article “Could a NASCAR/IndyCar double-header really work?” Both series would have to solve the problem of tire incompatibility and get the blessing of their respective OEMs regarding their drivers before anything else is worked out. If those two major hurdles are cleared, then selecting a venue like the Charlotte Roval makes the most sense. It’s in a region with a lot of big companies and good potential for landing a title sponsor – and hopefully a large purse. And NASCAR would market the hell out of it. If NASCAR pares down its schedule, which could allow more date options, it creates an interesting possibility.

Lastly, hold both races at night. Better for the fans in the stands, and better racing – maybe. I’m not sure how well an IndyCar would perform on a roval at night, but I’d love to find out! I don’t know about the logistics, but had IndyCar ever considered a night road/street race before?

Rob Peterson, Rochester, NY

RM: All options are open since it’s only the talking stage, but I know Jay Frye would like a Saturday night/Sunday afternoon twin-bill and I imagine that’s what a promoter would want to try. Two races in the same day wouldn’t get the desired buzz, in my opinion. Not sure IndyCar has considered a night road/street show, but it might be cool.

Q: I remember attending in 1973 the Michigan Twin 200s. At that time USAC had a stock car division and they ran a double-header on Sunday. Indy cars first and stock cars second. It was run in late July or early August. Do you think that might work for a NASCAR/IndyCar double? Two sprint races in one day. Or split Saturday and Sunday?  But I am guessing that as long as the Captain has Detroit on the IndyCar schedule, that is not going to happen.

Kevin, Arlington Heights, IL

RM: I believe Mark Miles prefers two races on the same day, but as I said above, I don’t think any promoter would go for it because the idea is to draw a nice crowd for two or three days with one ticket. MIS and Belle Isle co-existed in the CART era so it could work, but only if MIS is interested and I think Gateway, Richmond, Chicago and Kentucky would all be considered before MIS.

Q: Just got done watching the final Mid-Ohio IndyCar practice before qualifying. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy the NBC Sports Gold Pass! Great conversations and technical information. During the program, the guys were talking about the number of current and prospective IndyCar drivers who have come up through the Road to Indy. This amazes me, especially with the small (but obviously very talented) field of Indy Lights drivers.

My question is, what can be done to get more teams to support the Road to Indy? Andretti does more that his fair share of supporting it (as he does with everything Indy). I know teams can get extra test days if they’re involved, but what can be done to motivate a Penske or Ganassi, teams with the resources necessary to run the series to be involved? Being able to follow drivers up through the ranks is a positive for both the drivers and IndyCar.

Wally, Eden Prairie, MN

RM: Nothing anyone can do short of IndyCar pouring some decent money into the purses, and that’s not going to happen. It’s just disheartening the two most successful teams in the paddock don’t support the ladder system.

Andretti Autosport is currently leading the Indy Lights championship with Oliver Askew. Shame Ganassi and Penske aren’t alongside them on the grid. Image by Road to Indy.

Q: Sorry for piling on, but I first have to clarify that I’m a huge Marco Andretti fan. Nothing would make me happier than to see him win the Indy 500. That said, the man has a gorgeous wife, a lot of toys, a beautiful house, a seemingly perfect life! Nothing wrong with that! Enjoy, Marco! But give Conor your ride already.

Vincent M, South Pasadena, CA

RM: Marco paid for Conor’s IndyCar test at Sebring a few years back, and maybe he’d enjoy the role of full-time owner some day since he co-owns his current ride with his father.

Q: I usually don’t like to badmouth any driver, because I couldn’t do what they do, but that being said, Marco is a disaster! I think he would be better off being a co-owner with his father and finding a young driver like Conor Daly. He hasn’t been competitive in years, and is not going to be. I don’t think it his team due to the fact everyone else seems to be doing well. Also, being such a late start in Iowa, (weather) I think it would be great to see NBC do a re-broadcast during the week so fans that didn’t see the race would have a chance to watch it later.

Brian Lancaster, West Lafayette, IN

RM: I guess if Rossi, RHR and Veach were in the back and struggling it wouldn’t be so glaringly obvious, but Marco is lost right now and nobody knows if he’ll ever find his way back to the front.