Q: Am I correct in my assessment that JoNew is a combination of Bobby Unser without the ego and more outgoing Rick Mears? Either way, this kid is special and could not be more likeable if he tried. I’m a JoNew fan for life. Been an IndyCar fan since 1975, and I can’t think of a young man with more superstar potential than Josef. All he needs is an Indy 500 win or five.
Daniel Tripp, Boaz, Alabama
RM: Good question. Uncle Bobby had to lead every lap and The Rocket only led when the time was right, but JoNew is kinda in between them because he’s pretty aggressive but usually pretty measured, and takes what the car gives him that day. But he is the Penske perfect driver in every way, and will be the face of IndyCar for a long time.
Q: I think Herta displayed a great deal of talent and nerve. He never flinched when challenged by Dixon on several occasions, and stayed within himself at the end. He never gave a hint of worry when being pressed by Power. The shame was the coverage by your NBC team, especially the last 15 laps, and more so the very weak coverage of Victory Lane. Yes, Newgarden did deserve some time for the championship, but NBC dissed Herta and it seemed often that the director calling the shots doesn’t know what camera to select. The Rutledge thing is stupid and senseless. Send him back to NASCRAP. Give us more of Professor B and you. The Rookie of the Year computation is ridiculous, Colton is the ROY and everyone knows it. Where does TK land if anywhere next year? Hope to see you at St. Pete and Indy in 2020!
RM: I don’t think people can appreciate how bleedin’ (that was one of Dan Gurney’s favorite adjectives) poised Colton Herta is, but Sunday should have convinced them. He’s 19 years old and had the best in his series beating on his rear wing all day, and never put a wheel wrong. That’s unheard of – hell, even Power and the boys ran off track a couple times chasing him. We knew he was talented in Indy Lights, but I don’t know that anybody could have seen this kind of moxie, maturity and speed from a teenager. And the best part? He’s the nicest, most humble, polite kid you will ever meet. His DNFs hurt his ROY chances, but Felix did a good job all season and was also deserving. But two wins and three poles in your first year? Colton was almost driver of the year, let alone rookie. T.K. doesn’t have too many options but he’s working on it.
Q: I’m glad you are eating crow. That bodes well for IndyCar’s future and shows how good the universal aero kit is with the Dallara. Hate to see it go, but it creates a solid building block for the next-gen car. Just wanted to say thank you to the entire NBC crew that put together this years TV coverage. We see a few people on air, but it takes an army to put together the solid product that we experienced. Camera people, technicians, directors, truck drivers, etc. 2019 was the best IndyCar coverage we have seen in decades, and we have the entire crew to thank.
Also have to thank NBC for the Gold Pass this year. I didn’t get to use it as much as I wanted, but the coverage I was able to catch was worth it! Loved the in-car audio from qualifying when you can hear the car getting loose in the Corkscrew. Gold Pass was totally worth it, and if they keep the price reasonable, I’m on board next year. I also wanted to thank RACER.com and especially you and Marshall for your coverage this year. You guys may not be the most dignified, but you have integrity and call it like you see it. I can’t ask for more. Marshall, we are praying for you and your wife and would ask others to help with the Gofundme site to help with the costs.
John Balestrieri, Milwaukee Woodwork
RM: Thanks, I think Dallara and Firestone get big props for making the last couple years so enjoyable to watch, and I’m sure the new car will keep many of the characteristics of this one while balancing the aero-screen. I think NBC showed IndyCar it was the partner it needs and has never had, and NBC Gold seemed to be well received. (Now if we can just get it in Canada). Marshall’s wife is improving and thanks for your concern.
Q: A great race at Laguna Seca for the IndyCar finale. One complaint is the coverage had way too much noise from the microphones, which drowned out the announcers. Thinking ahead to next year, any news on Juncos? Also Red Bull’s Helmut Marko made comments that Patricio O’Ward wasn’t working out as hoped, even though he sure hasn’t been associated with them long. How did he do in Japan, and could he be coming back to IndyCar? With Herta and Rosenqvist, Ferrucci and the other rookies, the future sure is bright driver-wise.
Also, any update on Conor Daly? Hard to see Foyt end the year knowing he will be down on sponsorship right when the series is looking up. Please keep up with all the driver news, as lots could be happening with Schmidt Peterson and Hinch etc. You and Marshall did a great job, as did RACER and NBC Sports. Lastly, please update us on that history of IndyCar book we are waiting on too. Maybe it can hit the annual holiday presents guide. Nice reference to crow, and you evoked thoughts of Mug and Bun breaded tenderloins. Pass the mustard indeed!
Craig Bailey, Palm Bay, FL
RM: I got several complaints about the noise, so I’ll see if we know what happened. No news on Juncos other than he wants to be full-time but needs money (and he’d love to run Renus Veekay if he had any). Pato struggled on hard tires in Japan and Red Bull will kick him to the curb, and I told him a month ago to get a hold of Zak Brown because they met for breakfast at Long Beach and that would be a good place for him. I think Conor is in the running for McLaren and Carlin. Gordon Kirby’s book on open-wheel history should be out next year. And it will be a keeper.