Q: It seems like the IMS road course could be adjusted to make a short oval race at Indy. Look at a top-down map. The backstretch could be extended to the main oval. It seems an adjustment could also be made at the opposite side (near Turn 4 on the traditional oval). If we have already conceded races at Indy, and maybe doubles weekends, a modification to Indy could get us a unique roval. Seems the midwest, and Indianapolis would take to a roval race on a double-race weekend. The midwest is IndyCar’s base! Your thoughts on that as a possibility? Also, a race on Friday seems dumb. Unless you were really looking at the specific dates, most assumed, me included, a Saturday and Sunday double.
Tim Gleason, Chicago
RM: Interesting concept, but I tend to think the only oval people want to see at Indy is for 500 miles in May. However, if you could figure out an IMS roval that might be a hook, although I can’t imagine it being better that the last two road course shows.
Q: I just can’t believe the amount of negativity in the Mailbag about the 2021 schedule. What a bunch of crybabies, it was unreal. I like the schedule. The main point for me is the huge gap between St. Pete and Barber. Is it possible to add a race somewhere in a warm area, or going to Mexico? With Pato on board, I am sure it will be a hit.
RM: Not at the moment, I think IndyCar is like everyone else – waiting to see where this pandemic is by early next year. Mexico City won’t be in play next year, but possibly by 2022 when O’Ward should be a big name.
Q: What are the chances we can see Cleveland again? I attended the 2000 race where Moreno led start to finish and there was a decent turnout, but that was a different era. I would love to see this new formula on the airport. Any thoughts?
RM: Because I didn’t recognize your name or address, I let this Cleveland letter run. Yes we’d all love to see a race return to Burke Lakefront but there is no promoter, no sponsor, no push from the city and no chance at the moment.
Q: Has there been a increase in ratings since NBC took over? I don’t care about road courses. Last Saturday’s race was so boring! Watching Will Power drive around over and over was not exciting. Hoping Colton Herta would chase him down wasn’t going to happen. And my favorite drivers (Hinch+Helio) were never in the Top 5. It’s a total bummer.
RM: There has been a slight, steady increase as you would expect with eight races on network (nine next year) and NBC doing a great job of promoting. Do yourself a favor and go back and watch the Friday Harvest race at IMS, and then tell me you think road racing is boring.
Q: With Andretti Autosport involved in the race for the last Leader’s Circle spot and not the overall championship, other than competitive pride, is there anything in the rules that would prevent them from putting Rossi in the No.98 car and Marco in the No.27 for the last race?
Jim Sarow, Whitefish Bay, WI
RM: The car earns the points, that’s why Hinch and Seb were brought in early – to try and secure those spots. So Andretti could swap those guys, although I’m sure there are sponsor ramifications that would have to be worked out for Rossi.
Q: Isn’t it time to give Chase Elliott a chance to drive an IndyCar on a road course? Whenever there is a road course on the schedule, Chase kicks everyone’s backside, including that of future open-wheel driver Jimmie Johnson. Chase has the speed, has the charisma and if his dad shows up at the track, will have a following.
Jacco, Utrecht, Holland
RM: First off, who says he wants to drive an IndyCar? I think Daytona and the NASCAR title are his immediate goals, and then maybe he’d give IndyCar a try if so desired. He’s obviously a good road racer and might sell some tickets.
Q: In response to Dan Spata’s question about teams monitoring Push To Pass, if you are using the IndyCar mobile app on your phone and have the timing and scoring application running, you can see when a driver is using push to pass. It would not be that difficult for a team member to have the app running and relay that information to their driver. I was actually very surprised to see this when I pulled up the app while in my seat for the race. Like Dan, I assumed that this information was not available to anyone. It is not displayed on the TV broadcast. I like Will Power’s idea of P2P lockout. If the trailing car is within one second, the car ahead would not be able to use P2P to defend.
RM: Thanks Ben. I like Will’s idea too, and the element of surprise or awareness is non-existent in the current setup.
Q: I watch as much IndyCar and F1 as I can. F1 uses the DRS system to allow passing on certain straightaways during a race to allow for extra speed for passing. IndyCar uses push to pass to get more fuel to the engine. Is DRS a specific F1 technology, or could it be adapted to IndyCar? IndyCar seems to be going more towards the road course type tracks, and DRS seems to be a way to allow more passing and not using fuel consumption to do so.
RM: I have very few lucid thoughts on technology but thankfully Marshall Pruett can save me: “DRS is not an exclusive piece of technology. The German DTM series has made use of it for a few years, and it could be incorporated into the next IndyCar design, if desired by the series.”