Q: Been an IndyCar fan for over 50 years. Andretti has five cars, two of which are backmarkers, so when is he going to cut Marco? He is always off the pace. He has become complacent. I do not think any other team would hire him. It costs a lot to keep him. What’s your take?
RM: My take is that Marco is the single most puzzling driver of my lifetime, because he does have ability and car control and race craft but obviously something is missing. However, Michael is going to keep him as long as his son wants to drive.
Q: It sounds like Daly is entered for every race. So, do all the points go to him individually? In theory, not likely, he would be eligible to win the championship?
Dan, Lima, OH
RM: Yep he’ll earn points every time he drives for each team.
Q: Conor Daly’s “blended” schedule has me wondering if the points scored accrue to the driver or the car? Will the combined point total between the No.20 and No.59 be Conor’s, or split between Carlin and ECR?
Brad, Bloomington, IN
RM: There are driver’s points and owner’s points for each result.
Q: A letter in your March 11 Mailbag mentioned the waning popularity of oval racing. I have been an IndyCar fan since the mid-’50s and I think the waning popularity is due to the lack of real racing competition. Most oval races look more like a parade that a race… even Indy is becoming that way. Why is this? Maybe because most of the newcomers have little if any oval experience and are out there to display their sponsor’s name more than anything else. None of them have come up through Eldora, Winchester, Kokomo, etc. Where, or better yet, who are the Foyts, Andrettis, Stewarts and Unsers of today? You get my point. The mystique is gone. It is almost one-design racing. Hopefully Mr. Penske will open things up so races become races again.
Tom H., Venice, FL
RM: Oh man, Tom, I’m not sure what Indy 500 you’ve been watching lately but the past six have all had some of the best racing I’ve ever seen, and fantastic finishes. Sure we have spec cars and engines nowadays, but instead of somebody winning by two laps, it’s more like two car lengths. And while they didn’t grow up on the dirt, Scott Dixon, Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan, Simon Pagenaud, Alexander Rossi, Colton Herta and Josef Newgarden are all fine racers, and Dixie is about to pass Mario on the all-time win list. I miss dirt races at Springfield, DuQuoin and the Indiana State Fairgrounds and the Novi, Lotus, Gerhardt, Coyote, Penske, Eagle, Wildcat and McLaren but the racing has never been closer or more competitive.
Q: Hi Robin; good to talk to you again. I’m the guy who is going to be attending my 73rd Indy 500 in a row this year. I know how you are always encouraging IndyCar to do a promotion in conjunction with the Chili Bowl. I agree, and that seems like a no-brainer to me. I just wanted to point out that at last Saturday night’s indoor USAC midget race at DuQuoin, Curtis and WWT Raceway brought an IndyCar show car to sit in front at the entrance, and also had some signage inside. I realize it is just a small thing, but that’s the type of thing that they have been doing that has made the Gateway race so successful. Best wishes to you and all of IndyCar for a great 2020 season
Butch Welsch, St. Louis, MO
RM: That was probably Chris Blair’s idea, because he’s a helluva promoter and a card-carrying USAC Silver Crown owner who had signs up at the Chili Bowl about the Gateway IndyCar race. That’s always good to hear, because the more exposure IndyCar receives, maybe it will attract some curious folks who have never seen a race. Congrats on No. 73, just hope it’s in May.
Q: The aeroscreen has been talked about at length in the Mailbag on many previous occasions, and I’m not here to reopen any debate on it. I’m all for driver safety and Jay Frye and the Red Bull Technology group did a solid job of making that be so, along with being more aesthetically-pleasing than the F1 halo. I’m a big believer that the superspeedways still need to have a place on the schedule, and I’m curious what the general consensus in the garage is in terms of either entertaining more superspeedways moving forward, and if the aeroscreen hadn’t come into fruition, whether this style of racing would’ve been phased out for the future?
Also, since these cars have been described as fighter jets with wheels and Tom Cruise has a new “Top Gun” movie coming out this summer, it would seem like a slam dunk for the marketing guys in May if they could get old Maverick to come be involved in pre-race activities somehow, but perhaps that’s just wishful thinking on my part.
RM: I think as long as Eddie Gossage can find sponsorship we’re going to have Texas, with or without an aeroscreen, and obviously Indianapolis is always going to be the cornerstone of the series. But it’s tough to get promoters to take a chance on any oval nowadays, and they’re always going to be a product of supply and demand.