Robin Miller's Mailbag for November 27, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Robin Miller's Mailbag for November 27, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Insights & Analysis

Robin Miller's Mailbag for November 27, presented by Honda Racing / HPD


Q: Please tell us that Seabass is being picked up by another team. The fan base really enjoys the periodic “cameo” interviews he has given, via RACER’s Marshall Pruett. Similar wishes for keeping “The Mayor” on-track as well!

Bill in CA

RM: Don’t know where Seb would go at this point. Ditto for Hinch. But the Hamburger and French Fry videos were quite entertaining, and I guess we’ll only get to see them at the IMSA races now.

Q: Well, Robin, that didn’t take very long. Here’s the answer to the mysterious parting of ways at Coyne Racing: IndyCar’s loss is IMSA’s gain. Seabass has raced in sports cars before, most recently for Ganassi Racing in the Ford GTs, so fans will be familiar with him and he can still go like stink! Hate to see him leave IndyCar, but I’m also a big IMSA fan, so glad to see him move over.

This will help boost the JDC-Miller team’s Caddy DPi program — they should become real contenders with the top teams now, likely make podiums and a few wins. I’m also wondering if just maybe Seabass feels its a good time to move over and drive a car with a roof on it? He’s already gotten banged up on the ovals pretty good; made that remarkable recovery to get back behind the wheel. But maybe he feels it’s time; his kids are getting older now. Now we have to see who Coyne ends up with as his lead driver. Ferruci might be brave on the ovals, but I don’t think he’s experienced enough to be the No. 1 on the team yet. I could be wrong….

Tony Mezzacca, Madison, NJ

RM: No doubt Seb enjoys sports cars, but I think he would have preferred to leave IndyCar under his own terms. And Santino drove like a team leader much of 2019, so he’ll be fine in that role as long as Craig Hampson is there for him.

Q: Hello, Robin, long-time fan and reader of the Mailbag but first time sending in a question: In previous Mailbags I have seen many criticisms levied against James Hinchcliffe’s results while with the now-AMSP team. I feel like the blame does not fall just at his feet but the team as well. I may not be remembering correctly, but it seems like I remember him having more lead engineers than seasons. Am I wrong? I always wondered, ‘Was it due to him being difficult to work with or was there another reason’? He is not my favorite driver out there, but I feel like he has been and continues to be a good ambassador for IndyCar. Love reading the Mailbag and thank you for everything you have done for the sport. Hopefully I will run into you at the race in Richmond next year.

Matthew Bush, Fredericksburg, VA

RM: Hinch has had a few engineers in recent years. Allen McDonald left the team at the end of 2017 when he and then-new general manager Piers Phillips did not mesh. McDonald was replaced by Leena Gade, who was a whiz on road and street courses but, with her lack of oval experience, struggled in testing at IMS and again during the month of May. SPM technical director Todd Malloy stepped in to try and help, but it was too late and Hinch missed the show. Gade was replaced by SPM’s Will Anderson, a team veteran on the assistant engineering side, who was promoted to race engineer with Meyer Shank Racing’s team under the SPM-MSR technical alliance. Since MSR was only doing six races, Anderson was often free to engineer Hinch when he wasn’t looking after Jack Harvey’s MSR entry; and he put Hinch in Victory Lane at Iowa. When he was on MSR duty, Malloy filled in. For 2019, Anderson went full-time with Hinch and SPM’s Mike Colliver was assigned to Harvey.

Is there a connection between Bourdais’ ouster and Honda (plus most IndyCar fans) wanting a full-time ride for Hinch? Uhh…no. Image by LePage/LAT

Q: Just when I thought I had most of the seats for next year figured out I hear two strong rumors. 1) Bourdais was out at Coyne because some “performance objectives” dictated by Honda were not met. Can you confirm? Is this Honda’s way of providing a seat for Hinch? 2) I heard MSR is now adding a second car. Is this a Honda seat for Hinch? Any more word on who gets the second seat at Foyt or if Conor Daly winds up at Carlin? Have a great Thanksgiving!

John, Del Rio, TN

RM: Have not heard that at all. Honda spent to keep Rossi in the fold but I don’t think an engine lease alone would be enough to make Coyne jettison Bourdais. Second car for Mike Shank? News to me. I’ll ask him. No idea about A.J. and we’re hoping Daly gets the second seat at ECR.

Q: Nice to see Seb landed at JDM-Miller in the Cadillac DPi. Any other veterans getting canned before we get back to St. Pete?

Jeff, FL

RM: Well, you wouldn’t think so, but I didn’t think there would be much movement past Rossi and Herta so maybe nobody is safe except Dixie and the Team Penske trio.