Q: Second-generation drivers are rarely good as their dads, but Colton appears to be better than his pop. Colton’s performances could make for interesting team dynamics at Andretti. Who will be the top banana – Herta or Rossi? What’s your take? I thought Power raced Felix really hard on one the last restarts (making more than one defensive move). Race Control made a non-call, but how did you see it?
Jonathan and Cleide Morris, Ventura, CA
RM: Bryan was a damn good driver who kinda got the bum’s rush at Ganassi and then did a good job for Rahal and Andretti. But Colton is a prodigy. I think watching he and Rossi duel next year will be fascinating. Didn’t see the Power/Felix battle, but there was a lot of good, hard racing all day.
Q: I have a hypothetical question regarding the Laguna Seca race. If (and that’s a big if) Pagenaud had managed to pass Dixie early and worked his way up to Power and Hertamania, would Power have given way to allow Simon to go for the win? If yes, would Cindric have given Josef the green light to charge after Rossi? It seemed like the No.2 car was in risk mitigation mode all race, which was logical given where the other challengers were.
RM: The boys talked about it on NBC, and I agree with Kevin Lee’s perspective: The Captain isn’t going to play favorites at that point. JoNew led the championship all year, and even though Simon won Indy for him, R.P. would not have intervened unless something had happened to Newgarden, and then I’m sure he would have asked Willy P. to move over if it meant winning the title.
Q: Watched your Silly Season update with Pruett. Of course, Hinch and SPAM were at the center of your conversation, as he has been in many articles on RACER. My question is, why are you guys so convinced that Hinch must be leaving and going to Rahal? You guys have analyzed his potential to land at every single Honda team in the series, but I was under the distinct impression that he was staying for at least a year. When the announcement was made, Hinch released at statement on his Instagram talking about how he was looking forward to rekindling his relationship with GM and how excited he was for the future, despite the fact that he’d have to have a discussion with Honda Canada about what that meant for his future with them. Another site reported on September 1 that he’ll be staying. Many other organizations have said the same. So why are you so convinced that he’s leaving?
Max Camposano, Bethlehem, PA
RM: First off, we can’t write everything we’ve been told and it might be a while before we can, but Hinch and Honda of Canada have a great off-track relationship that pays nicely, and HPD also holds him in high esteem. James knows he’s a lame duck there at Schmidt and they certainly didn’t spend much time singing his praises in their press release. Throw in the flak he got for the ESPN Magazine shoot, and I don’t think he wants to stay there. But there’s another scenario nobody knows about yet and that may well come into play. Hinch is playing the game right now, but if Honda can find him a ride, he won’t be at SPAM in 2020.
Q: Ever wonder if Rossi is re-thinking his re-signing with Andretti? It’s clear that Herta will be Rossi’s main competition as the number one driver on that team, which makes one wonder if Rossi would rather be on a team where the teammates all have great equipment and are competitive at every race or to have one teammate who can match his talents? And do you think Andretti (even though it’s good for IndyCar to have cars in the field) has spread itself too thin by being a five-car team as opposed to Penske’s three-car team where all the teams can compete for the win?
Jake, Pasadena, CA
RM: No, even though there are five drivers at Andretti he knows the team is his, whereas he’d be the fourth wheel at Penske – which of course ain’t bad – but I think that factored into his decision. Now he’s got Colton to challenge him, but I think Rossi responds to that kind of thing. And I still feel like he wanted to be loyal to Honda as well. But I don’t think Michael is spread too thin, he basically ran five cars this season and won four times.
Q: That was a good race, and a very nice to have IndyCar return to Laguna Seca. Noticed on Colton Herta’s second pit stop that Will Power’s crew was set up in the pit stall right behind Herta with their tires and front tire changers in pit lane, but when Herta’s crew was doing their pit stop they picked up the tires and moved them over the pit wall. Power did pit a lap or two later, but I was wondering if this is legal to try and force a driver to make a mistake by having your pit crew set up for a pit stop they were not going to make?
Dick Mason, Crawfordsville, IN
RM: Oh hell yes, as long as you don’t leave your tires in the way or create contact like the Penske/Ganassi brouhaha back at Sonoma a few years ago.