Q: I read in the Jan. 15 Mailbag that R.P. reads it, and you also pass along some emails. I don’t care if my suggestions are published. If nothing else I’d like you to be the conduit to get them to someone at the Speedway.
- Do something about the wait at the gates to get in on Sunday. There are always lines. I understand the need for security, but it also looks like there are gates not open for entry.
- Turn the Snake Pit stage around. I don’t want the bump-bump-bump waking me up Sunday morning. I don’t like hearing bump-bump-bump all race long. People in the Snake Pit don’t care about the race. Turn the stage around to make it a little less annoying. (This idea came from my brother-in-law.)
- The Speedway should host a Sunday morning Monaco Grand Prix Watch Party. We always watch the Monaco Grand Prix the morning before the 500. This often results in my wife yelling at me because I’m going to make us late. Everyone else at camp is watching it too, but I get yelled at. Setup a big screen somewhere inside the fence. Inside the Speedway is difficult because it seems that almost every inch of the infield is used that day, plus the schedule shows activities at the track starting early race morning. Maybe place a screen behind the NW Vista. It’s near concessions. The stands block the sun from glaring the screen. We can come in early, watch Monaco, and then move to our seats. It might even alleviate some of the lines at the gates mentioned in Item 1 and increase concession sales.
Sam Strickland, Nutter Fort, WV
RM: I sent your note to The Captain on Sunday at midnight, and he responded 10 minutes later with: ‘Sam, we’re working on No. 1 and No. 3. Need to Review SP this year. Thanks for your interest in IMS. R.P.’
Q: In this new R.P. era, what possibilities are talked about to lure more spectators to IndyCar? Seems to me that young people today aren’t drawn to the smells, the sounds, and the excitement, as we were. When the big name European drivers would be at certain races, the draw to see these major stars would also be ways to increase attendance. From what my two sons tell me, young people today aren’t as interested in motorsports as we were, and that most of us are still. R.P. is one very smart man, surrounded by many great people. I hope they can come up with ideas to lure the levels of new spectators back to our sport so we don’t lose the racing we love!
Mike A, Bayonet Point, FL
RM: Roger has a lot of ideas on how to make the fan experience better, and I’m sure he’s got some ways to try and increase interest from drivers and teams around the world (larger purse, for one) but let’s give him a year or so to act. But IMS has his undivided attention, and that’s a good thing.
Q: The museum at IMS is one of those gems that I have soaked in when I visit, and I realize that the cars in that collection are for the most part best left ‘on display.’ But I know that there are vintage Indy cars that are out in the hands of private owners, and they run them at vintage historic events across the country. I also know that there is the Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational for sport cars that utilizes the road course in the summer. Has there ever been a vintage Indy event on the oval as part of the 500 weekend? And I don’t mean just some ceremonial parade laps as part of race day. I mean it as maybe something like a Saturday event with Sunday’s 500 where various vintages of cars run an event?
Brad in Seattle
RM: Every May the vintage cars are allowed to run laps during a few mornings leading up to the race, but nothing in terms of a race. A couple crashes in the past two years have made that even lesser of a possibility. But watching the old cars circle the track on Race Day is always cool – even at 70 mph.
Q: Your answer ‘11 rows of 3’ in the Jan 15 Mailbag about sacred transitions at the Indy 500 brings to mind one that has been trampled. I do not understand why the field cannot maintain the rows and spacing coming down for the start of the race. Come on drivers, look at the archive photos of the beautiful race starts of years ago. It can be done.
RM: It’s always breathtaking to see how close the rows were when the green flag dropped and they charged into Turn 1 in the 1950s and 1960s. I understand the cars are 100 mph faster today, but being too spaced apart can ruin the flying start.
Q: I visit RACER.com every day, and I just saw the article about Scott McLaughlin at the IndyCar test. The photo with it shows his Team Penske car, with aeroscreen, from the side and a bit to the rear. I have to say that from that angle the aeroscreen makes the car look really cool, kind of like a jet fighter. If they could just make the thing narrower, I think it would go a long way toward improving the front view. Is there any way they could do that without compromising its safety improvements?
Bob Ward, Puyallup, WA
RM: Way too early to be making any changes, let’s let them race the cars for a while. But they do look better from the side than head-on.
Q: Every story out of the tests at Sebring has keyboard pundits deriding the aeroscreen rather than comment on the story. Funny how folks with zero skin in the game want to determine what safety equipment the drivers should have on the cars. Dan, Justin and Robert’s accidents were the reason for the aeroscreen. I do not want to lose one more IndyCar driver due to debris striking their heads. The aeroscreen will help decrease the chance of similar accidents reoccurring. Plus, I happen to think the aeroscreen makes the cars look even faster. Funny, A.J. had an aeroscreen on a few of his awesome Gilmores.
RM: If IndyCar tried to appease all the internet experts then we’d be screwed, and I get that the car doesn’t look like an old Eagle or McLaren or Penske, but the aeroscreen can no longer be ignored. IndyCar had to join the club, and we’ll all get use to how it looks. I’ve got a story from 1973 after the first-lap crash where A.J. talks about putting canopies on Indy cars.