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


Q: Noticed you forgot to include Scott Pruett in the list of folks who drove both the Indy 500 and the Brickyard. Hope you are doing well, and that I still get a chance to meet you at Richmond this year.

Napalm Nick

RM: Thanks, I’m surprised he’s the only one I missed. A lot of people wrote and said A.J., but my understanding from the question that it was a driver that competed in both events while they were still current.

Q: When I read you thought the Novi’s finest finish was fourth at Atlanta in ’65; my old mind went ‘no’. So I Googled to check if my memory was correct. Paul Russo and the Novi finished fourth in the 1957 500. That had to be that engine’s finest hour.

Bob Roser

RM: We were both wrong. Duke Nalon finished third in the 1948 Indy 500 and then escaped his fiery crash the next May after winning the pole position.

Q: Got looking through some old Floyd Clymer yearbooks, and if I am correct Paul Goldsmith is the oldest living Indy driver from the ’50s (with A.J. being the other). How about running some “where are they now” stories on those guys still around from the ’60s and ’70s? I am always surprised that so many old-time competitors and former winners are absent from the festivities each year. I am sure a lot of us old timers would enjoy the stories.

Dave Seaton, Indianapolis

RM: Well that’s why I started the “Tough Guys” series a few years ago, and Goldy was one of my original subjects. And, yes, Goldy is 94 and still going strong.

Q: Robin, interesting thoughts on who to be holed up with during this coronavirus “rain delay”. While it is quite true that hanging with A.J. would certainly be an illuminating experience, my first choice would be Donald Davidson. Having listened to him on the radio, podcasts and meeting him in person, he never fails to amaze me. Time would pass very quickly.

Jim Mulcare, Westbury, NY

RM: Donald and Uncle Bobby are both entertaining as hell but require a mute button after a while, and A.J. is a pretty damn good storyteller.

Q: I saw Champ dirt cars at DuQuoin twice, and both were memorable – in ’66 when Bud Tinglestad got his only Champ Car win, and in ’72 when Jigger Sirois stole the show in a turbine car (finishing third after leading early). I remember the car had an Allison engine. Was there just one turbine dirt car? What do you remember about turbines on dirt?

Tom Hinshaw

RM: It was the same Jack Adams’ dirt car driven by Art Pollard and Jigger Sirois, and maintained by the one and only Howard Millican. Pollard drove at the Hoosier Hundred and talked about how tricky it was because of the throttle lag. Jigger did a great job and Lee Kunzman (who started on the front row with him) laughs about trying to out-brave him into Turn 1 at the start. It didn’t work.

Jigger Sirois’s turbine dirt car had quite a history. Image by John Mahoney

Q: My question is more of a thought or suggestion. With today’s technology, I feel all drivers in any discipline should have to wear a specified heart rate monitor or some other device similar. It would be great for the safety team to have a real time data feed of every driver’s heart rate, oxygen levels, etc. I think fans would be fascinated.

Andy Brumbaugh, Columbia, SC

RM: I recall Derek Daly and Howdy Holmes wearing heart monitors in practice and qualifying, and it was pretty interesting to watch. Might be worth IndyCar looking at, so we’ll send along your suggestion.

Q: First, I want to thank NBCSN for the replays of Indy past… Last year’s Indy 500 was almost as exciting than it was watching live. What an amazing race! Also, the 2015 Sonoma race was great! I just couldn’t remember how things ended, and found myself rooting for Dixon to pull it off. (He did.) Keep it up NBCSN, and I’ll keep watching. I would much rather watch a past race than the cartoon iRacing.

My question is, 2015 Sonoma, what ever happen to Pagenaud for stopping on pitlane? They said it was under review. He definitely blocked Newgarden from coming out of the pit, allowing Pag’s teammate to leave unscathed. Newgarden even had to drive through Pag’s pit and over the air hose just to get out of there.

Patrick, Seguin, Texas

RM: Good lord, I can’t remember what I ate for lunch, let alone answer something that obscure. There was no mention of it in any of the stories I found and Pagenaud finished 16th and Newgarden 21st, so I don’t think it had any affect on the outcome. [ED: According to Penske’s post-race release, Pagenaud had stopped before his box to avoid contact with Power and Newgarden. The delay dropped him from sixth to 20th in the running order at the time. Newgarden brushed his front wing against Pagenaud’s car, but his real downfall that day came during his next stop. None of that tells you anything about race control’s take on it, but hope it helps].