Q: I’m sure you are being inundated with email from folks unhappy about the yellow finish at Indy. Personally I believe the officials made the correct call. With the accident occurring on Lap 195, there were simply not enough laps remaining to gather the field, send them to pit road, and then give proper pace laps and a restart. Since this is IndyCar and not NHRA, a drag race finish simply would not have been good racing, and also likely would have resulted in more crashes. If IndyCar ever does the green and white thing, just shoot me!
Skylor. Palos Verdes Estates, CA
RM: IndyCar has used the red flag three times before, but never the G-W-C scenario. And we won’t shoot you Skylor, we’ll simply make you watch any Pocono NASCAR race on a reel-to-reel tape for 24 hours.
Q: I’m sure you’re going to be bombarded with complaints that the race finished under yellow instead of officials throwing a red flag to clean up Pigot’s frightening accident. I know in the hours since the race concluded, social media certainly has been opinionated on it. I was OK with it. It had nothing to do with wanting to see Sato or Dixie, or even Rahal have a shot at winning under green. But it has everything to do with something that has bugged me for years. We have raised an entire generation of fans who expect a green-white-checker finish. I blame that squarely on NASCAR trying to fabricate competition, and other series falling in line.
That’s not what real racing is about, though. I bet if you asked anyone with the last name of Andretti, Mears, Unser, Foyt, Rutherford, they would be OK with it, because with 10 to go, real racers always had to be in a position to go for it with the possibility of a race ending under yellow. It was just part of the strategy of real racing. I mean, nobody likes to see a race end under yellow, and I do recall a couple of really good two-lap shootouts in the past, but our current “keep trying until we get it right” mentality seems to ruin it for me. Your thoughts?
Brad from Seattle
RM: I agree 100 percent, and you nailed the symptoms – NASCAR has almost made it a sin not to finish under green, and a lot of young fans think that’s how racing is conducted. We’re all in agreement that fans want and deserve a green-flag finish if possible, but not at any cost.
Q: I hope you don’t ignore the fact that every fan of IndyCar is upset and angry. I know IndyCar likes to ignore the fan reaction and pretend that everyone is happy. Please be honest and report the truth in the Mailbag. IndyCar gifted a win to Sato.
RM: Hmm, well of the 63 letters I’ve received so far about last Sunday’s Indy 500 finish, 54 of them had no problem with the race finishing under the caution so I don’t reckon you speak for the majority. How was Sato gifted a win? You don’t know if Dixon or Rahal had enough to get by him in the closing laps, and it appeared he was in control.
Q: How could a recent winner, front row starter, and drama-free-in-August be overlooked? I picked Sato, put my money where my mouth was, told my readers to do the same, and collected at 16-1. And that was despite being “overlooked” when media credentials were dished out for this year’s race and not having the benefit of being inside of the fence.
RM: Good point, Tim. We were all writing and talking about Andretti Autosport, Dixie’s pace in all kinds of weather, all those fast rookies and Honda’s dominance, so Sato got lost in the shuffle. Nice call on your part.
Q: I just wanted to vent a little bit: I am seeing all over that people are questioning whether Sato’s win is legit or not? How can they think this? Were they not watching the same race? Sato earned that win, just like his win with Andretti. He had a very smart strategy, and in my opinion, if Dixon was waiting to make a move, he waited too long. Sato was around a mile per hour faster than Dixon before the flag came out. Plus, I would rather the race finish like that then going red then restarting – it just feels too fabricated that way. So did Sato have enough fuel, did Dixon have the pace to get past him? We will never know, but I was very happy to see Sato get No. 2.
RM: It’s hard to imagine some of the suggestions that the race was fixed. Why would IndyCar want Sato over Dixon or Rahal? It wouldn’t. And considering some of Taku’s moves at IMS over the years, I would think he’d earned some respect by now. Read Marshall’s story about fuel.