Robin Miller's Mailbag for March 4, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Robin Miller's Mailbag for March 4, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Insights & Analysis

Robin Miller's Mailbag for March 4, presented by Honda Racing / HPD


Q: With the Citrone/Buhl Autosport an RLL entry, is 36 still the number of entries you are expecting?

D. Hinkle, Indianapolis

RM: I expect Coyne to again field a car for David Byrd and James Davison, Foyt is going to try to run Seabass and Juncos getting his deal squared away. So maybe one more late bloomer. I think at least 36, maybe 37.

Q: In my count, I think about all the cars are taken. Where’s Juncos? In or out? How about a car count update? Think the Captain is going to run Scott McLaughlin in the 500?

Dave Sutton

RM: Read Marshall’s story on Juncos. He’ll figure out something, but no way R.P. is running five cars.

Q: Carlos Munoz has such an accomplished record in the Indy 500s that he has driven. Is there any chance that he will get a ride in this year’s 500?

Steve Sicklick, W. Hartford, CT

RM: Haven’t heard his name mentioned anywhere.

Q: I look forward to and read your Mailbag every week. First time writing. I just read the article about DragonSpeed getting their car fitted late for the aeroscreen. There was a picture in it and the screen looked like it was 2-3 inches shorter and below the halo than I’ve seen in other cars. Is this a new design? Keep up the good work, and hopefully I can meet you in Richmond.

Bob Akerman

RM: From Marshall: “Hi Bob. No, it’s not smaller.”

Q: As soon as I saw the news about engine-related grid penalties, I had to write to you. Among the many great decisions and good news coming from IndyCar lately, this shocks as an incredibly asinine measure that will serve absolutely no purpose other than to alienate fans. Engine-grid-penalties have been a major annoyance in F1, and there is absolutely no reason we need this in IndyCar. There is nothing worse than having to sit through a thrilling qualifying session to set the grid, only to hear “oh, but driver X who just made the Fast 6 will have to start further back because of an engine penalty…”. Fan response has already been overwhelmingly negative. Extremely poor decision, and one that will hopefully be reconsidered ASAP, and scrapped altogether.

Max, Florida

RM: I agree. I hate seeing NASCAR and F1 grids shuffled because of engine changes,but I get that IndyCar is trying to control costs and not let the Big 3 just throw new horsepower at the field. But I don’t think it alienates fans as much as it confuses them.

Munoz was a natural at the Brickyard. Image by LAT

Q: With all of the concern about having a series regular driver/team not qualifying in the top 33 and missing the show at Indy, why not have a promoter’s option? It could allow a series regular to still make the show by being added to the rear of the field, or if all the regulars make the show, they could set it up to allow the fans to vote a deserving favorite in. Always good to see you at the track. See you at St. Pete.


RM: I think in all those years with 50-55 cars trying to qualify there was an Indy mystique about the 33 fastest and earning your battle scars. Rodger Ward missing the show in 1965 was hard to imagine, just like Rahal in 1993, R.P. in 1995, Hinch in 2018 or Alonso last May. But there was a sanctity around Indy and no guarantees. Nowadays, I’d be all for a promoter’s option for the good of the show and sponsorships.

Q: I read with interest about a fellow fan wanting to incorporate the late Tom Carnegie and Jim Nabors into the morning race day festivities. No complaints about that. But it does bug me that one of the greatest voices associated with the Indy 500 seems to be always overlooked, and I’m talking about Sid Collins.

Before I started going to the 500 at age 18 (I’m 61 now and getting ready to attend my 44th-straight 500), I would turn on the radio and Sid was the man when it came to the 500 for me! His voice! And the people he reached in this country and around the world announcing the 500! And when one talks of the 500, what do we say? “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”! Sid Collins! I don’t even know if there is a plaque or anything to honor this great individual who brought the 500 to so many people. And no disrespect to Tom Carnegie, but I didn’t get to know of him until I started attending the race. But I knew who Sid was! How about a little of Sid on race morning calling some of the past action from our beloved race. What do you think, Robin?

Rick Owens, Fort Wayne, IN

RM: I think a nice little montage of Tony, Sid, Tom and Jim played all over the track prior to the singing of “Back Home Again in Indiana,” would be classy and well received by all us old-schoolers. The young fans would also get a quick education on four of Indy’s legends.

Q: I read your response to Kevin Eads’ question in last week’s Mailbag, and you mentioned inclusion of Carnegie and Nabors, a great tribute to their contributions at the Speedway. What about suggesting to Penske and his team at IMS to name the 500’s Pole Award in honor of Tom? Something along the lines of: “The Tom Carnegie Pole Award” presented by (insert Pole Day Sponsor). The trophy could be redesigned to have the famous quotes of Tom, and maybe have his face to resemble the 500 winner’s trophy.

Kyle Lockrow, California, MD

RM: I like the idea, and I forwarded it to R.P. and his staff. And then let’s find a sponsor for it and pay $1 million for setting quickest time.

Q: I have been a loyal fan of Tony Stewart ever since I sat with him on the retaining wall at Disney for the first IRL race. Why the heck doesn’t he have an IndyCar team? He has the shop in Brownsburg, has the money and could even go into partnership with his hero A.J. Haas has F1, why I don’t know when he and Tony could have gotten into Indy for a fraction of the cost. When Tony has his Menards car hung on his bar wall, what gives? We all know his love for IMS, and didn’t open-wheel pave his way? It’s time he gives back, don’t you think?

Steve Lawson

RM: Oh, he’s given back in spades with the tracks, teams and series he owns, and fielding an IndyCar is probably on his list. Partnering with A.J. would be perfect, but I imagine he’s looked at the purse and decided it’s an expensive proposition without a big sponsor. Don’t give up, it will happen some day.

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