Robin Miller's Mailbag for September 11, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Robin Miller's Mailbag for September 11, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Insights & Analysis

Robin Miller's Mailbag for September 11, presented by Honda Racing / HPD


Q: I’m an Eagles fan, so I knew the O-line would be in the ESPN Body issue. But I was surprised when I saw James Hinchcliffe included as well. I was even more shocked when I saw zero promotion for it, even from James himself. I also found it odd that Arrow was blurred out throughout the video interview. What gives? Why sign up for this and then not even mention it when it’s released?

Katie W, PA

RM: It just came out Sept. 6, so I imagine it will get some publicity soon.

Q: In last week’s Mailbag, in an answer to Scott St. Clair, you said: ‘Right now it’s anyone’s guess who McLaren Arrow SP hires, except I’ll bet you all the money I can borrow from Bobby Unser that Hinch won’t be there’. So you are going to bet a dollar and a quarter?

Tom in Waco

RM: Uncle Bobby agreed to loan me $100 at 28 percent interest.

Q: Great article about you and your Formula Ford experience! How did you pay off your $5000 loan? USAC winnings?

Joe Weiss, Spooner, WI

RM: Good one, Joe. I was over $60,000 in debt when I quit racing USAC, and I think my biggest payday was $154 when I won my heat and finished sixth at Kokomo.

Q: I understand Pocono going away, but I am concerned by the lack of growth in the schedule. The perfect number is 20. IndyCar has been stuck on 17 races for some time now. Fontana, Kansas City, Chicago, Homestead, Watkins Glen, another race in Canada, a road or street race on the East Coast. Talks have been said for the past few years of International races.

Concerned fan from Danville, IN

RM: It’s the same old story: if a track or a promoter doesn’t think it or they can make any money, they’re not going to host your series. There’s a reason those races all went away, and it’s Economics 101. IndyCar even tried Phoenix and The Glen on its own dollar, and had to pull the plug when nobody showed up. Jay Frye wants 20 races but only 20 good ones, and that won’t be easy.

Power will be the last IndyCar driver to score one of those eagle statues for the foreseeable future. Image by Levitt/LAT

Q: I would like to share with you my thoughts about 2020 schedule. I assume that everybody knows why Pocono lost the spot, but I am wondering what’s next for them. Do owners of track have a plan to improve this situation and be back again? Build bigger walls? The new windscreen may also improve their situation. IndyCar is always about diversity, it’s a shame that we lost good example of this (there’s only one triangle).

I am really disappointed about lack of international additions. In my opinion it’s not hard to combine a race weekend with Pinty’s series (Montreal please!) or PEAK Mexico (Puebla?). DHL is connected with RHR, so it’s also not that hard to arrange some appointment with people who can transport all items, relatively cheaply, even to another continent. Another example is Japan. We have Japanese sponsors, driver and OEM, Mr. Miles has all arguments in hands to return to that country. He should talk with Super Formula, for sure! As I wrote in the past, IndyCar needs to be ambassador of oval racing all around the world.

Kuba Dradrach, Wroclaw, Poland

RM: I don’t think Pocono or IndyCar have any plans to race again, and the track isn’t going to spend $1 million on improving the fencing and it doesn’t need to with NASCAR the only show in town. Miles wants an international race, but only if it pays well for the teams and that’s not going to happen in Canada. NTT may want a race some day in Japan so that’s probably the best possibility. But you can’t go anywhere unless you’re wanted, and it has to be profitable for IndyCar.

Q: RACER’s recent article on ticket sales for Laguna Seca’s IMSA and IndyCar events got me to thinking about the IndyCar/NASCAR doubleheader that got a lot of print a while back. I don’t believe it will ever happen, unless NBC uses its clout to force it to happen. Quite frankly, NASCAR has little to gain and something to lose in a doubleheader as their cars are slower. That’s not a knock on NASCAR, it’s just a fact. Short of that, the “speed week” concept could work. NASCAR on one weekend, IndyCar on the other (the order isn’t important as neither series will be getting “top billing”), with lots of racing related-stuff in between. Maybe an Xfinity or Truck race on the Wednesday between the two “main” events. Or how about Trans Am and/or vintage racing?

The perfect spot: Watkins Glen. Why? NASCAR runs the short course, IndyCar runs the long course. Because the lap times aren’t comparable, no one loses face over who is faster. Separate weekends also eliminates the tire compound compatibility issue. If not Watkins Glen, then either Charlotte (on the Roval) or Texas probably have the promotional acumen to pull it off, but they have that comparable lap time issue. While I don’t believe the doubleheader will ever happen; the speed week format could be a winner for everyone involved.

Bill Carsey, North Olmsted, OH

RM: The whole concept is one weekend, with IndyCar running on Saturday and NASCAR going Sunday afternoon, and an oval would be the desired track, although I imagine a road course or street circuit could work. Jay Frye is the driving force behind the concept, but NBC would be deal-maker since it televises both series and likes the idea. Separate weekends don’t do anything for the promoter.