Robin Miller's Mailbag for February 26, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Robin Miller's Mailbag for February 26, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Insights & Analysis

Robin Miller's Mailbag for February 26, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

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Q: When a third OEM is landed, how will the teams be chosen to run that engine? I can imagine any new teams entering the series could easily be assigned the new engine, but wouldn’t at least a few existing teams need to make the move in order to evenly spread the load? And how does the series plan on making sure the third supplier does not deliver another boat anchor like the ill-fated Lotus? Could some version of BOP be employed if it’s obvious there is a deficit?

Steve C., Ithaca, NY

RM: From IndyCar boss Jay Frye: “It will be up to new OEM to negotiate and secure team deals, and no BOP but we do have a performance clause that if OEM gets behind, they would have one opportunity to fix deficiencies. But we would not penalize others.”

Q: Regarding the new DAS steering system that the Mercedes-AMG team are using in F1, seeing the FIA has cleared this, it will be only a matter of time that other teams will develop their own system, including McLaren. Now that they also have an IndyCar team, would it be possible with the rules for them to transfer this innovative technology across to the Arrow McLaren SP team as well? Obviously I just don’t know enough about IndyCar rules to know how much you can tinker with the cars.

Jason Mullen

RM: From Marshall: “DAS, which is extremely cool, isn’t in the IndyCar rule book.”

Q: Please Miller, tell me our sacred gathering in May won’t be cheapened into a ridiculous campaign rally? Our elected officials are welcome to attend without need to turn this into another political photo op. IndyCar fans we smart enough to demand a real hero, Anthony Joseph, drive the pace car for the 2020 500 instead of advertising the next season of the Celebrity Apprentice. This isn’t NASCAR.

Gabe in NWI

RM: I don’t know if R.P. will invite Trump to the race, but I truly don’t think it’s going to take away from the flying start or great racing or atmosphere if he does.

Q: I agree with your reader who, at the risk of starting a s***storm, voiced an opinion that Trump at the Indy 500 would be an unnecessary distraction. As a lifetime Indy 500 fan, I believe the 500 is about honoring our veterans and the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Having Trump there would turn it into the greatest spectacle in politics. No thanks. Wasn’t he supposed to drive the pace car once?

RC, Speedway, IN

RM: Yep, back in 2011 but he made the charge on NBC that Barack Obama may not be an American citizen and that created a firestorm here in town. Will Higgins of the Indianapolis Star wrote this:

Shortly after the Speedway announced Trump would drive the pace car (a Chevy Camaro), anti-Trump letters to the editor arrived at Indy Star containing words like “embarrassment,” “shamefulness,” “ridiculous celebrity figure.” A Facebook page popped up, urging Trump be replaced and quickly drew 17,000 likes. The Baptist Ministers Alliance of Indianapolis urged the Speedway to rescind its offer to Trump. A groundswell of pressure is starting to build on Indianapolis 500 officials to dump Donald Trump as pace car driver at this month’s race.”

That story appeared on May 3, with the race just three weeks away, and Trump bowed on May 5, citing business reasons.

Pitlane was the one place where the Lotus could match the pace of its rivals. Image by Boyd/LAT

Q: I attempted to attend the Daytona 500 last weekend for the first time, and I will not return. Look, I realize IMS isn’t necessarily packed with Democrats on race day, but the fans at DIS seemed to be largely decked out in partisan political gear (some rather vulgar, an apparent violation of DIS policies that weren’t enforced) as much as they were in NASCAR gear. It was a thoroughly unpleasant experience, and I had zero interest in sticking around an extra day for the rescheduled race.

I’ve come to my senses in the last 10+ years and shifted my motorsports focus from Cup to IndyCar, but had wanted to see the Daytona 500 at least once in person. Shame on me for picking a particularly hostile election year to do this, but I’d be devastated if our 500 turned into a political rally the way theirs did. Please tell me something assuring. Thanks!

Andrew McNaughton, Chicago

RM: At the risk of sounding uppity (thanks Willy T.) I don’t think there’s a lot of comparison between fans at Daytona and Indianapolis. Yes, Trump carried Indiana in 2016, but that doesn’t mean there would be the same thing as you saw in Florida. He was booed at the baseball All-Star Game in D.C. and cheered at the Super Bowl in Atlanta, he didn’t disrupt the games, and I don’t think he’d have any effect on the race, either.

Q: I always look forward to the Mailbag (as well as your Tough Guy videos). Just a couple of comments prompted by the February 19 Mailbag. I agree that “Back Home Again in Indiana” should be performed live each year, but, I sure think that a video replay of a Jim Nabors’ performance could be played over the big screens during race day morning, along with replays of great moments like some of the dramatic race finishes (Johncock/Mears, Little Al/Goodyear, Hornish/Marco, Emmo/Little Al’s Million Dollar Meeting, AJ in 1967 – will he get through? Sullivan’s spin and win). I would love to see the museum expanded and upgraded.

But I remember seeing the old museum in 1968.  As I recall, it was a red brick building about the size of a small ranch house outside Turn 1, just north of where the administration building is now. I recall there being about a dozen cars, including A.J.’s 1964 car. It is a lot better than it used to be, but do you think Penske will re-model it?

Kevin Eads, Anderson, IN

RM: I think I’d figure out how to incorporate Tom Carnegie and Nabors into the pre-race festivities, and IMS is supposedly working on some video throwbacks as well. And I do believe R.P. will give the IMS museum a facelift so it can accommodate all that treasure in the basement.

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