Robin Miller's Mailbag for October 14, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Robin Miller's Mailbag for October 14, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Insights & Analysis

Robin Miller's Mailbag for October 14, presented by Honda Racing / HPD


Q: I was thinking of your response to my question to you last week and how I thought NASCAR was conspiring against IndyCar with their tracks. You stated that you thought that Richmond was going to be a financial loss so it pulled the plug. Thinking back, I purchased my tickets mid March, days ahead of everything shutting down due to the pandemic. I was able to get really good seats for my son and I. I would guess that advance ticket sales were very low and I can see where they wouldn’t go ahead after that.

Now, my suggestion, NASCAR and IndyCar should double up at an oval, such as Richmond. If selling season passes in the past helped sell tickets at Texas, Michigan and other tracks, a weekend with two premier racing series could be a winner. As stated many times, there is not enough activity to the casual fan, not enough band for the buck. With the right promoter, together both series I think could find sponsorship and get the crowds to make it a winner. Just my two cents and I’m sure it’s been discussed, just wish it would happen.

Bob Akerman

RM: It has been discussed after NBC liked the idea, and Texas and Richmond were both identified as possibilities, but that was before the later got erased from the IndyCar schedule. I think R.P. and Jay Frye want to make it happen, and it’s just a matter of finding the right combination and date.

Q: The comments about the IndyCar 2021 schedule are mind blowing. The quality of driving and competition has never been better in the 30 years! I have been following Indy and the CART eras. The ‘fans’ that continue to bemoan IndyCar seem exceptionally fair-weathered – or more likely, choose to not support the series in-person. In The Split year of 2001 I attended races at: Indianapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee, Mid-Ohio, Cleveland, Michigan’s CART finale, Road America, and Indy F1 as well. I get most of those have dropped off the schedule, but if you are complaining here about the races, the question to ask is “how many other races did you attend in-person last year?” After attending the Harvest GP and taking my six-year old to his first ever in-person IndyCar race –and spending on merch to make it memorable and to support the series – I have to ask your readers: what have you done to support the schedule? Fans can’t complain about losing a track they didn’t attend. Thanks for the reader accountability, sir.

Ed, Westfield, IN

RM: I would give anything to be able to identify whether some of the longtime moaners have ever attended a race in-person, or when was their last one. It’s not cheap to drive to a race, pay for hotel room and buy a decent seat with a pit pass – I get that – but it’s an entertainment option that obviously doesn’t apply to oval tracks anymore.

If you signed with late-1990s Benetton, you probably knew that something like this would be on the cards. Motorsport Images

Q: Please make it stop! As someone who has spent a career negotiating contracts and running businesses, the one thing that sticks in my craw more than anything else is a Monday morning quarterback. I’d bet that these people who complain about the schedule are challenged to build anything more complex than a plain bologna sandwich. Rant over. Thanks to you and Marshall for feeding us stories and insight all year. It’s greatly appreciated.

Greg Phelps

RM: Thanks for reading. In terms of contracts, I wish I could divulge the spread in sanction fees through the years and how low it’s become at certain places in order to function. The days of the big sanction fee are long gone – now it’s just about survival – and IndyCar was forced to become a promoter at Phoenix all three years and at Iowa this season and gave Milwaukee a freebie a few years ago just to try and jump-start it.

Q: At what point do you think people will start to see IndyCar as entertainment and not something that somehow affects them personally and makes their head pop off when they don’t get what they want? It reminds me of the people who complain when Facebook or Instagram makes a change to a thing they get for free. If you’re watching a race and don’t like it, turn it off and go watch curling or glorified rummage sales on reality TV or spend your time playing with your kids or your partner. It’s racing. That’s it. One day it will go the way of horse-drawn buggies and whips. It will. Enjoy what you get for free, or turn it off. But complaining to you, Robin, makes no sense.

Randall, Winters, CA

RM: Good question, Randall. I’m still in shock thinking about the fan that labeled the Friday IMS Harvest race as the ‘worst ever’ when, of course, it was one of the best. Not sure what people want or expect anymore, but it’s good racing and pretty damn entertaining most of the time so they might want to pursue your option (although judging by our TV ratings a lot of them already have).

Q: I live about 50 miles south of D.C. on I-95. Like many, I was really bummed out that Richmond went away. I have a five and an eight-year-old who watch IndyCar races with me. The five-year-old loves to point out Dixon’s and Newgarden’s cars on TV. I was hoping he would be able to bring Joseph’s children’s book to Richmond to get an autograph, as that would be a memorable event for a five-year-old. What possibilities are there for mid-Atlantic races? Any sort of road or oval? VIR evidently is too narrow or something (which I question, since LMP1 cars raced there with IMSA before the merger). Where else could they race other than a street course which bombed financially in Baltimore? Charlotte roval? I’m begging not to have to drive either nine hours to Nashville or 10 hours to Indy.

Doug B.

RM: Newgarden tested an IndyCar on the Roval so I thought there might be a possibility there, and I imagine if we give R.P. a couple years he can find an eastern/mid-Atlantic venue.