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

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

Insights & Analysis

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


Q: What a great Race 1 at Road America. Great showing for Alex Palou, and No. 3 for the year for Dixie! My comment/question for you Robin pertains to the foam signs placed on the grass that effectively took two cars out of contention (OK… Marco is never in contention anyway). Given limited crowd attendance on site, why not just superimpose those multiple signs electronically for the TV coverage? This would satisfy the sponsor and not create an obstacle if a car goes off track?

Pongo in SoCal

RM: They’re foam signs, you said it, and they didn’t knock Rossi and Marco out of the race, but I imagine it’s a question for Road America.

Q: Crazy to see just how dominant Scott Dixon is right now. Starting to feel like F1 out there. That leads me to two questions: Did Dixie ever get a fair shot at going to F1? Lewis Hamilton and Dixon in the same race with equal equipment—who’s your pick?

Ben Parker, New Palestine, IN

RM: Dixie tested for one day at Paul Ricard in a Williams-BMW and for two days six weeks later at Barcelona and wasn’t far off Ralf Schmacher’s pace, but wasn’t offered a drive. So I’m not sure I’d call that a fair shot. I’d take Dixie at Indy and Mid-Ohio, and Hamilton at Silverstone.

Q: Usually don’t do this kind of thing, but had to ask. I mean, come on, we both know Dixon and his team are probably the best at about everything less qualifying (and he’s pretty much always up there). He just doesn’t get the respect he deserves (and I bet he loves it for himself and his family, because from what I’ve seen that’s the kind of guy he is) does he? I was lucky enough to be a committee chairperson for the RCA championships back in the early 2000s. And I was even luckier enough to get to hang out in the player lounge. I never intruded or asked for autographs or anything like that, but it was pretty cool to see how athletes live and handle themselves. Of course there were some that I preferred to be around than others, but that’s the world. Scott Dixon always seemed like he’d be one of those guys that you’d be able to talk to. Anyways, he’s a living legend, and I’m lucky enough to have been able to have witnessed it.

Shane Dusenbury, Shelbyville, IN

RM: I think all current drivers and teams respect the hell out of him, and the little full-time media left that still cover IndyCar realize he’s probably the best of the past 25 years. But it terms of the Foyt/Andretti adulation, that will never happen, and that’s fine with him. But he’s as good a person as he is a racer.

Q: After the first four races of the season, Rossi finds himself behind again because Andretti has been unable to provide him a car that gives him a chance to win. Do you think that Alex would have won a driving title by now if he were with Penske or Ganassi?

Doreen Wood, New Jersey

RM: Not really sure his slow start can be blamed on the team when it appeared the mechanical issues he encountered at Texas and IMS weren’t their doing. He struggled Saturday at Road America, but recovered Sunday and Colton and RHR have been right up front, so Andretti is far from hopeless. Hard to answer your question because the Big 3 all take turns at the front, and Rossi hasn’t led a lap since last year at Road America, but it’s only a matter of time.

Dixon only had limited seat time in the Williams in 2004, but his times stacked up well against the benchmark set by Ralf Schumacher. Image by Spinney/Motorsport Images

Q: I was just wondering what is the story behind the AMSP team? It’s just that every time I read anything about them, it seems like it’s more SP and less about McLaren. Please tell me how much is really McLaren?

Lenny Mishik, Fairview Pk, OH

RM: Well, it is Sam Schmidt’s building and original team with a Arrow and McLaren partnership, but not really sure what you’re referring to in terms of reading about them. RACER quotes Zak Brown as much as Sam, and Taylor Kiel is the team director based in Indy so naturally he’s going to be the go-to guy for interviews and quotes. McLaren had a big hand in hiring Pato O’Ward and Oliver Askew, so I think it’s pretty satisfied so far.

Q: How much longer do you think Marco Andretti – a team owner – will allow his driver to gravely underperform before he pulls the plug and signs someone who can hustle what is arguably top three equipment to the front of the grid? As he is often qualified at the back of the grid, he seems to never get near the front even using alternative pit strategies, tire choices, etc. He’s not beating Indy Lights rookies in lesser equipment. I fear he’s acquired the stench of King Hiro… Whaddya think sir?

Brett, DFW, Texas

RM: You are a first-time writer and I appreciate your interest so I wanted to print your letter, but I’m going to put a moratorium on Marco questions after yours like we did MIS, Milwaukee and iRacing. I have no clue as to why he’s so uncompetitive, but he can’t qualify and that’s doom nowadays. He’ll quit when he feels like it, and it’s got to be so humbling for him right now that I can’t imagine wanting to continue for many more years at this pace. The puzzling thing is that he’s shown speed, car control and racecraft, and Andretti Autosport is one of the Big 3.