Robin Miller's Mailbag for April 15, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Robin Miller's Mailbag for April 15, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Insights & Analysis

Robin Miller's Mailbag for April 15, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

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Q: Thanks for publishing Mario’s comments. I also enjoyed the interview with Uncle Bobby. At a time when we are having trouble finding a way to look forward, looking back through Mario’s perspective was great! Looking forward to reading the ones from Kanaan, Johnson and Hendrick. Can you get Foyt to do one?

No surprise to you, but Andretti has been an amazing ambassador for racing, as outgoing and friendly as Richard Petty. Great to see someone that accomplished being so good with the fans. Had my picture taken with him at St. Pete a decade ago. My oldest daughter, Kristin, lived there two years ago, went to the race with me, and surprisingly loved the IndyCar race. Afterwards she asked if there was a place we could go and see some famous IndyCar racers up close. I took her to the hospitality area where the teams were entertaining, saw Mario near the fence, and he agreed to get a picture with Kristin. Afterwards, Kristin asked me if the picture was “Facebook-worthy.” I told her that she wanted a pic with a famous IndyCar star, and there is no IndyCar racer more famous the Mario! She found that out when she posted it. Even had some IndyCar racers started following her on Instagram after that!

Jim Wilson

RM: Thank our editor Mark Glendenning for the idea to have guest mailbags, and Mario’s was a big hit, as expected. A.J. just did a big Q&A on his website (thank you Anne Fornoro) that was quite entertaining, and I talked to him on Easter and he’s bulldozing away in Texas but we might be able to talk him into it. Glad your daughter has become an IndyCar fan.

Q: I would love to see an iRacing event with racers of the past like Mario Andretti, Rick Mears, Bobby Rahal, Paul Tracy, and anyone else who might be interested. Any chance they would do it? That would be fantastic entertainment.

Mark Suska, Lexington, OH

RM: I imagine that Mario might be up for a little match race with Bobby Ray and P.T., but can’t imagine The Rocket wanting any part of it. He’s old school in every way, and I really doubt that iRacing would give him much of a thrill.

Q: In last week’s Mailbag, Jeff Stejskal asked “With IndyCar having its first virtual oval coming up next weekend, will drivers have virtual spotters?” and you replied, “God I hope not, because that will really be the final nail in the coffin for me.” Sorry to break it to you, but iRacing has a virtual spotter built in. You can also have a real person spot for you if they’re logged into the game. A lot of the NASCAR guys have been using their real spotters, and I believe some IndyCar drivers have too. You’re still racing in the “cockpit view” in iRacing so a spotter is necessary, especially on ovals.

Joey

RM: Thanks for the iRacing update for your out-of-touch-with-the-video-game-world reporter.

Q: Perhaps I missed the announcement, but who is going to decide where the last round of IndyCar iRacing will be on May 2? May I humbly put forth my short list of nominations: 1.) Nurburgring, the original Nordschleife  2.) Spa. 3.) Monza with both road & oval circuits  4.) Hermanos Rodriguez, original with the full Peraltada curve. 5.) Road Atlanta 6.) Zandvoort, original. 7. Paul Ricard, original.

Marc, Orange County, CA

RM: It will be selected by fans on a social media poll, and all those tracks should be in play.

Q: The new date for the Indy 500 means that for the first time in many years it does not conflict with a Formula 1 race. Any chance of seeing someone like, let’s say, Lewis Hamilton get a ride? Now that would be something.

Rick Eisenbeis

P.S. I just watched your video of Lloyd Ruby, and I met him at the race at Mt. Fuji. I was in the Navy and took leave so I could be there. He was a real nice guy to me. I sat next to him a nightclub there, and the club was passing around cards for all the racers there to sign, and Rube handed it to me to sign. I said I’m not with any car, and he said, just put my car number with your name. And yes, the best driver to never win the 500.

RM: I can’t imagine Hamilton wanting to do it, or Mercedes allowing him. Maybe with a proper test program some day after he quits F1, but that’s probably a long shot. Rube was about as genuine as they made people.

It’s going to take more than the absence of a date clash for us to see Lewis rocking his shades in Gasoline Alley. Image by Mark Sutton/Motorsport Images

Q: Since the Indianapolis Grand Prix is on the same weekend as the Pennzoil 150 and the Hot Vodka 400 at the Brickyard (Brickyard 400), do you think that we will see any of the drivers compete in all three races?

Chris Fiegler, Latham, NY

RM: Not unless you can get Kyle Busch a ride. I think there’s a good chance Jimmie Johnson runs in two of them and makes his IndyCar debut.

Q: While I appreciate the optimism among many of the fans, I think it’s extremely naive to think that sports will operate as we’re used to until we have a large scale therapeutic and/or a vaccine. Knowing this, it’s unlikely that Toronto will take place, and I think there is a more likely scenario than not that even the Indy 500 won’t be run, or at least, not with the number of fans we’re used to. Naturally then, my question is whether IndyCar is in touch with this reality, and are they ready to run races with no fans or very limited fans (e.g <5,000 or even 1,000)? I imagine it would be an economic loser overall, but at least it would keep the teams running.

Curiously quarantined

RM: I can’t imagine any track hosting an IndyCar race with no spectators, and the only reason NASCAR could do it is because it owns most of them. But Roger Penske understands all sides of this equation and he’ll do the right thing.

Q: If anyone would have an ear to the IMS Radio people, it’s you. How about for the month of May, IMS opens the vault on the 500 radio broadcasts for one month for free. Just stream it. It would pass time, for sure. WIBC used to do it for all night prior to the 500; one of the coolest evenings of the year. Can you help?

Heath Florkey, Dayton, Ohio

RM: I sent your request to Mark Miles and Doug Boles. I assume you would want to run it on IndyCar.com?

Q: OK, crazy question for crazy times. If the Honda two-seater were made race-ready, who would be your favorite chauffeur for 500 miles?

Curt, Columbus, Indiana

RM: Either A.J., The Gas Man or Hurtubise. But Sneva would probably crash, Herk would blow up and Super Tex would be smooth and smart to the end.

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