Q: I’ve noticed a lot of displeasure from many IndyCar fans at the lack of ovals on the 2021 schedule. My response would be, if you want more ovals, then do your best to attend them in person, so perhaps more ovals could be added. Pre-pandemic oval races did not have the best attendance. I attended two Phoenix races with less than 20,000, including the final race there. The road and street courses draw great crowds/campers. So I say if fans want more ovals, attend ones on the schedule so more ovals can be added.
Kevin, North Carolina
RM: I wish there was a way to document the bitchers and moaners to see if they’ve ever attended an oval or how recently. But I like your logic.
Q: First, I just want to say I’m typing this email to you sitting in B Stand Penthouse over Turn 1. The sports cars are zipping around and I’m waiting on the IndyCar practice session to start. I’m grateful to be back home again at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The facility looks great and I hope the Harvest GP weekend goes well! Now, Iowa. I’m gutted that we’ve lost that race. It’s been my second favorite behind the 500 since I started going in 2017. In hindsight, I deeply regret not going sooner (I was too busy whining about IndyCar not racing anymore at Chicagoland, Milwaukee and Michigan to bother, apparently).
Yeah it was hot. That tends to happen during July races. We fans whined, took it for granted, didn’t show up, and now it’s gone. I don’t buy into the argument that “it’s in the middle of nowhere,” because anywhere that is spitting distance from an interstate highway, a Walmart and a few hotels isn’t in the middle of nowhere. It’s not the sexiest of destinations, but it’s a four-hour drive from Chicago, hotels weren’t too pricey, or you could camp to save money. I’m ranting, I realize, but we fans dropped the ball. Yeah, we got screwed by NASCAR, but that’s only because their fans also dropped the ball and took Iowa Speedway for granted after the novelty wore off. Now it may be gone forever.
Same thing seems to be happening with Chicagoland Speedway and Kentucky Speedway. People are going to whine about the lack of ovals on the 2021 schedule, or complain that racing at Texas and Gateway sucked this year, but if we want to keep them on the schedule, it’s important to support them. People whine, I accept that. How about the people accept some personal accountability? Thanks for your time, and please send me the bill for the race fan anger management counseling.
Andrew, sitting high in Turn 1 at IMS, finally
RM: Thanks for supporting IndyCar, first and foremost. When NASCAR pulled its Xfinity and truck races this season you knew the end was near, and I think if Roger Penske had received a fair offer he would have bought it, but now, who knows its fate? Like R.P. said in my Monday column, Iowa is a good track for IndyCar, so I hope it can be revived.
Q: I gotta say that this schedule is just a disappointment to me, and I’m assuming others. I read why there are no races at Richmond/Iowa, which I feel is just B.S., but I have a bad feeling that Roger sold his soul to the devil (TMS) to get an event in 2020, and we the fans have to pay the price in 2021. Please explain why no COTA? I see that TMS is now taking COTA race in the schedule, the fact that NASCAR is now racing COTA explains everything to me. We have only three oval tracks, which is pathetic. The fact that NASCAR has five road races (I don’t count that Roval) means they have more road races than IndyCar has ovals, which is not a good feeling. I don’t want to hear that Indycar has momentum, we have %$##. I’m so frustrated, so annoyed, and just have no hope that IndyCar will ever be relevant again.
Roger needs to talk to us, not you, not any other reporter, we need The Captain to talk to the fans and explain the schedule. We are owed that, at a minimum. I read that Miles is concentrating on North America, well WTF has he been doing? What have we gotten in the past five years that is on the schedule today? It appears that we get a new track then it goes away, we can’t retain anything and it’s annoying. You tell Roger that a 15-track schedule is what I had to go through in Champ Car era, I don’t need that again. Besides Nashville, this could be a schedule from 2005 or that era. You could have a lot more insight of why it is what it is, but to me the end result is just disappointment. Be special IndyCar, not predictable.
Dan, Chester, CA
RM: I really don’t know how to answer your question other than read my column from Monday and look at the history of ovals over the past 20 years. There is a reason NASCAR is going to more road races, and let’s wait and see what happens when the TV deal expires. All I can tell you is that without Roger Penske there would not have been a 2020 IndyCar season, nor would there be anything resembling a future. Predictable? How about survivable.
Q: No question, just a comment: It’s not Roger Penske’s fault you’re not attending ovals!
Rob Peterson, Rochester, NY
RM: Thanks Rob, you took the words right out of my mouth.
Q: Read your article about ovals and people blaming Roger. I’m not blaming Penske at all, or even the series. They did the best they could, but I’m smarter than everyone (sarcasm) and came up with ideas they haven’t (sarcasm). Genuinely do think NASCAR should throw IndyCar a bone and pick them up on a weekend somewhere? Just one more oval would go a long way to the optics on that schedule.
RM: Obviously they’re sharing the Brickyard weekend on the road course in 2021 and I think The Captain and Jay Frye still have hopes of an oval-track doubleheader with both series. NBC liked the idea, so I think it will happen.