Robin Miller's Mailbag for August 26, presented by Honda Racing/HPD

Illustration by Paul Laguette

Robin Miller's Mailbag for August 26, presented by Honda Racing/HPD

Insights & Analysis

Robin Miller's Mailbag for August 26, presented by Honda Racing/HPD

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Q: Taku did beat Helio in 2017, and now he did beat Dixon yesterday! He has done it not only once, but twice! He showed the speed and mastered how to win the 500. He knows how to set up his car right, which makes him feel very confident for the race, do you agree? I don’t mind waking up middle of the night to witness the moments like this! Congrats, Taku! Job done! It was helluva race!

Noz, Yokohama, Japan

RM: I think he’s figured out Indy, and he’s smart enough to keep up with the changing conditions and his engineer, Eddie Jones, has also been a good influence on him. Job done, indeed.

Q: I knew that Takuma Sato had another Indy 500 win in him! I’ve been a huge fan since his F1 days where he was very quick and gave teammate Jenson Button a run for his money. Made a lot of ballsy moves, albeit boneheaded at times. That of course plagued him in IndyCar, as well. But even before today, I’m sure over half of the IndyCar field would love to have his little resume of wins. Anyways, I’ve always wondered why, after Sato’s first Indy 500 win, Andretti Autosport didn’t bring him back the following season. Do you know any details about that? I would have thought that Honda would want Sato with the top Honda team. Or was it more about Rahal wanting him more?

Martin Moriguchi, Henderson, NV

RM: Michael Andretti was negotiating with Chevrolet and Sato is all Honda, so he couldn’t take a chance on being left by the side of the road and struck a deal with RLL.

Q: Sunday’s strong RLL showing honestly didn’t surprise me when it all shook out. Sato was strong all month, and Graham wasn’t too far behind. It seems more often than not that bad luck intervenes when either Sato or Graham have a good day, and even when strategy is on their side, but it was thankfully on their side Sunday. As the pit stops cycled through, I could tell Graham had a refreshingly strong car and I can only wonder if it would have been a RLL 1-2 if we’d had five more laps? Well-deserved all around, and a testament to their team chemistry to improve and move forward.

Second, I just want to throw out there for the aeroscreen haters that between Askew’s crash, and Pigot’s insane hit at the end of pit wall, that we likely would have had two very seriously injured (or worse) drivers yesterday without it. That Askew walked away from his crash is also a testament yet again to the HANS device, SAFER barrier, and the countless lives both have saved. Kudos to Dallara, Red Bull Advanced Technologies, and to Tony George, too.

Bryan White, Asheville, NC

RM: I talked to Graham and he said his car was so loose at the end he didn’t feel like he had anything for Sato or Dixon, but quite a performance by RLL. I need to see the cars and a couple replays to know if the aeroscreen prevented serious harm to those two kids, but it couldn’t have hurt.

Q: What drivers impressed you the most during the race? I thought Rahal and Ferrucci did a great job of working their way through the field to earn really good finishes.

Mike B., Illinois

RM: Yep, those two, and Rinus Veekay before his pit mishap. That kid was right in the fight, and also a shout-out to Pato O’Ward, he was competitive on a day where Chevy didn’t have it.

It was a good day for Graham, even if he didn’t have quite enough speed in the car at the end. Phillip Abbott/Motorsport Images

Q: I am left a bit bewildered by the race and the coverage. Now, I know why Dixon has finished second three times. He didn’t go for it and made fuel economy comments. Shame on Mike Hull and the entire Ganassi team to so be tentative the last 10 to 15 laps! You made the pit stop strategy, but you had two strong Rahal cars to race. You go for it.

Sato pitted earlier and went for position, and as there were lots of caution flags it worked perfectly. He’s a fighter and could have been a three-time champion but ended in the wall going for it one year.

The race should have been red-flagged, but the wall fix would have taken awhile. Coverage was not stellar. Danica sitting aloof on roof seemed unconnected with the race in the distance. Rutledge Wood should stay at NASCAR, he added very little. Tradition was dealt a blow. The young guns were fantastic, especially VeeKay. Too bad Alonso didn’t do better, but he finished. Disappointed not to see Penske in the winner’s circle and congratulating Rahal team.

Craig Bailey

RM: I’m pretty sure Mike turned Dixie loose with 18 laps to go, and I think he and Sato were both full rich much of the time after that. It’s just possible that Taku was quicker at the end, but I don’t think you can blame Hull or the team. It sounded like both drivers had to conserve a little fuel at the start and then went full bore.

Q: What in the world is going on with Andretti Autosport? Are they stretched too thin? Do they need to upgrade from Windows 98 to something current? I just feel bad for RHR. These last bunch of years have been waste for him.

Finally, why haven’t you been on the air? Concerns about COVID due to your recent health issues? I wish NBC would use you more on air. Your A.J. interview that was on NBC online was great. I wish they’d have you do more stuff like that. Would love to see some more IndyCar history interviews.

Chris, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

RM: Any time you field six cars you’re going to be stretched thin on pit stops, and I’m not really sure what happened to RHR but it was bad enough he commented on it afterwards. I’m just grounded until I can start making my own blood because I’m pretty weak, but appreciate your comments on the A.J. interview.

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