Robin Miller's Mailbag for April 1, presented by Honda Racing/HPD

Robin Miller's Mailbag for April 1, presented by Honda Racing/HPD

Insights & Analysis

Robin Miller's Mailbag for April 1, presented by Honda Racing/HPD

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Q: I got my email from IMS today about the postponement of the 500. You live in Indy. My question is, what is the weather going to be like in mid/late August? I’m an old man like you, and I’m concerned about spending a lot of time in the hot sun. Will this be an issue that time of year?

Jim Patton, Lindale, TX

RM: Probably going to be hot and humid Jim, so try and find some seats in the shade like the Paddock.

Q: With the Indy 500 now rescheduled for August 23rd, this puts an interesting variable in play that wasn’t there before. Fernando had said he was interested in doing more ovals leading up to the Indy 500 and the old schedule didn’t allow. However, the new schedule has Texas, Richmond and Iowa before the Indy 500. What are the chances that he will do those races in preparation for the 500?

Keith, Toronto, Ontario

RM: I would think there is a very good chance we’ll see Fred run at least one oval prior to Indy, and he told me once he watched Iowa and thought it looked like something he wants to try.

Q: Since this will be the first ever IndyCar/NASCAR crossover weekend, do you think there is any chance we could see someone try the double? Maybe a Kyle Busch or Jimmie Johnson? What do you think? My only thought on the Indy 500 is, I hope they have the cooling systems tuned up by then because it will be hot!

Rick from PA

RM: I suggested in my Indy schedule story last week that Johnson might make his IndyCar debut during the July 4th doubleheader, and then he told NBC’s Nate Ryan he was going to seriously consider it, so I think it’s going to happen. Just hope he gets to test.

You could probably work that up into a pretty cool IndyCar livery, especially with a massive ’48’ splashed down the sidepods. Image by Harrelson/LAT

Q: I haven’t yet heard anybody talk about which teams could struggle to make it to the first post-coronavirus races. I think we can all agree that the economy is going to see near-historic declines when this is all over. Unemployment may be at record highs. And the consumer might not have any demand for the suppliers who might not be in business. Having said that, what makes us think sponsors are going to be able to honor their obligations? Faced with angry shareholders, cutting sponsorships would be one of the first things to go. I worry that there may be a lot of teams without sponsorship money. Which teams could make it to the grid if their funding was cut?

Eric, Ione, CA

RM: I have no idea how individual teams’ contracts with sponsors read, but it wouldn’t surprise me if IndyCar only winds up running 12 of 17 races that some money would be given back or held out. But if people are being laid off, that same company probably isn’t going to be throwing money at an IndyCar. And the longer this pandemic goes, the worse it is for everyone – not just IndyCar teams.

Q: A long way to go and I hope we get there, but the Indy 500 calendar shows a two-hour practice the Thursday before Carb Day. Will this be a full-on practice like the Monday after time trials has been the past couple of years? If so, all the more reason to get settled in for race weekend on Thursday.

Don Weidig, Canton, Ohio

RM: Of course. The last few Carb Days have looked like full-blown practice sessions with everyone running long and hard, so this will be the last chance for full-tank runs, gauging fuel mileage and tire wear.

Q: With the Indy 500 rescheduled for August, what are the chances that USAC will adjust their “week of Indy” races to align up the new “week of Indy”? Also, seems the Little 500 group are sticking to their guns with the May date, but I’ll hang on to my tickets and see what happens down the road.

Dale Robinson

RM: USAC runs Haubstadt on Aug. 1 and then has a gap until four consecutive nights at Kokomo (Aug. 26-29) in late August, but there was only one race (May 20) at Terre Haute for Indy 500 week so maybe a couple races get added.

Q: Lost out on Long Beach this year, but gained Portland since it moved back a week! Was already going to be in Oregon that weekend to see Ohio State (my alma mater) at Oregon football game on Saturday. I’m guessing the best place to sit at Portland is by the chicane after the starting line? And the Indy 500 and time trials weekends are in a time that I can take off work to attend!

Rick K, SD

RM: That’s not a bad place, but I think the last corner also offers a good passing opportunity because somebody can stuff it in there coming off that back straight.

Q: I’ll admit that the idea of double points kind of made sense when there were three 500-mile races on the schedule. It quickly turned into a ridiculous practice when the double points shifted to Sonoma, and later Laguna Seca, two tracks where it’s notoriously difficult to pass. My question is, with this season losing some races, and St. Pete potentially becoming the new season finale, has IndyCar given any thought to scrapping the idea of double points all together?

Tom, Newark, NY

RM: Jay Frye was never a fan of double points in the finale, and as Marshall Pruett reported Monday, wherever the last race is held it won’t pay double points. Only Indy. Thankfully.

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