Q: Some of the best TV ever was you and Dave Despain on Wind Tunnel. NASCAR is like Stroh’s beer – regional to national to out of business. NASCAR is dead to me. Tell the people running IndyCar they have a real opportunity to be the premier racing show in the U.S. So whom can I root for? I need a team of good guys trying hard and having fun. Name a team I can start to follow, please.
RM: Why not start following Jack Harvey at Meyer Shank Racing, a good little team going full-time for the first time in 2020, or Ed Carpenter Racing with Conor Daly, rookie Rinus Veekay and Ed on the ovals? Good guys with good stories. And thanks for the WT comment, Despain was the best.
Q: It’s Friday evening and I just checked the Indy road course qualifications. Unsurprisingly the two Foyt entries are right down the bottom. Why do I find it unsurprising? Does anyone not? What is it that keeps Foyt’s team an embarrassment despite constant changes in drivers, staff, and now, sponsor? It seems a place where race driver’s careers go to die. What is it that keeps A.J Foyt’s team so consistently awful?
Anthony Jenkins, Toronto, Canada
RM: I can promise you that if the original schedule had run then Sebastian Bourdais would have been near the front last Saturday. He gave A.J.’s team a real boost in the lone test they ran, and could really help turn things around if he was full-time. Or even had four or five races. But T.K. and Charlie will do fine on the ovals, and Kellett is a rookie that nobody expects much from so let’s be realistic.
Q: Aaron Telitz drove a really mature race in wet/dry conditions in his IMSA victory with Jack Hawksworth last Saturday night. Is his future strictly in sports cars, or do you think Jimmy Vasser might put him in an IndyCar if the stars and moon align?
Jonathan and Cleide Morris, Ventura, CA
RM: I think we’re all hoping he gets an IndyCar opportunity with JV and Sully. I’m sure a lot will depend on sponsorship, but I know they regard him highly, and what if Seb goes to A.J. Foyt in 2021? Then it might open the door, but Telitz showed his talent in limited Indy Lights running – and winning.
Q: When is Andretti Autosport going to get its act together? Dixon is making them look foolish. Where is AA’s No.1 driver Alexander Rossi? Rossi and Herta should be a 1-2 punch! All team resources should be focused on those two, and use the other four for experimentation. Come on Michael! Push the leaders of the No. 27 and No. 88.
Dan, Lima, OH
RM: First of all, I wouldn’t dismiss Hunter-Reay like you have, he’s still plenty quick and capable of winning, but the anvil that’s been dropped on him the past couple years is now being shared by Rossi. They both got hosed by electrical problems at Texas (as the race started), and RHR drove his butt off to get back to eighth place. Rossi had clutch problems and other mechanical gremlins last weekend that cost him practice time, so he’s due for a trouble-free Road America. Little Hertamania is fourth in the points and hasn’t been dazzling yet, so he’s sitting pretty.
Q: After spending almost two hours on the phone and making 97 calls to the Iowa Speedway, I was finally able to get through and get tickets for the Iowa doubleheader. I was baffled today when I noticed they were advertising tickets are still available. What kind of a crowd should we expect?
Joe, Ingalls, IN
RM: Thanks for being persistent, Joe. The crowds haven’t been very good the past few races, and last year was besieged by bad storms, but going back to night racing should help. I would imagine good camping turnout and maybe half full grandstands, or a little better. You have to think a lot of people are still gun shy about public gatherings, so that would be a decent turnout.
Q: The ice has been cracked on doubleheaders! This is a great thing for racing. This also solves IndyCar’s Fontana problem. March in SoCal is very mild weather-wise, and I have no doubt IndyCar wouldn’t mind the Saturday evening spot in the schedule. Any possibility here?
Vincent Martinez, South Pasadena, CA
RM: That could put Fontana back in play some day because track president Dave Allen likes IndyCar and will only run them at night, so a Saturday night/Sunday afternoon IndyCar/NASCAR twin bill might appeal to him. But Long Beach is the next month, and I imagine that could be a concern for both, although two different crowds in my mind.
Q: I’m impressed with R.P.’s attention to detail and the improvements made to IMS. The only thing I didn’t understand was the painted white start/finish line was moved 5-10 feet north of the yard of bricks. Why was this done? Will it move back for the 500? In my opinion, it should stay adjacent to the yard of bricks. Hope to see everyone at RA next weekend!
Aaron, Hubertus, WI
RM: There are two timelines – one north of the bricks for ovals, and one south for road courses – dictated by the direction of the race. Don’t know why it was done, but it’s been that way a long time.
Q: So happy to watch our favorite sport again with the Indy GP! I’m a big fan of the road course race to kick off the month of May (July) even if it’s not well attended.
One thing that really bothers me is the track configuration used every year. It looks glorious to see a car go backwards through the Speedway Turn 1. Some of us witnessed Ferraris, McLarens, Renaults going flat out there years ago. Can you please talk to The Captain about skipping the last chicane to switch it up a bit?
RM: With all the things on his plate, do you really think changing the road course configuration is on R.P.’s shortlist? And why mess with a layout that actually offers two or three chances to pass? No, I’ll be happy to bug him about bringing back the apron, but unless F1 comes back and makes some demands, I can’t imagine the road course changing.
Q: Have you heard anything about any track changes for the Harvest GP at the Indy road course? I think it would be an interesting challenge to run one of the alternate layouts, rather than just running the regular Indy GP course again. They could run it in reverse like MotoGP, or even use the old F1 track.
RM: Did you and Paul (above) drink out of the same glass? No, I haven’t heard of any changes, and why would you mess with what is a pretty racy layout? Is it going to make the racing better? I highly doubt it.