Robin Miller's Mailbag for November 25, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Robin Miller's Mailbag for November 25, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Insights & Analysis

Robin Miller's Mailbag for November 25, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

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Q: I’ve had this idea bouncing around my head for a while. I propose to IndyCar go annually slot in a one-off traveling race each season — a floating race that goes to a different track that isn’t on the usual IndyCar schedule. For example: one year go to Kentucky, the next year The Glen, the next Chicago, Michigan, Mosport, Sonoma, Richmond, New Hampshire, etc. That would give promoters the opportunity to try holding an IndyCar race to test the waters, so to say, and would give IndyCar the opportunity to grow the season and possibly add the ‘floating’ track to the schedule if it was successful. I think promoters would get behind this idea and try to bring IndyCar to their tracks at least once. Gotta think outside the box these days.

Dave Sutton

RM: I think it’s an interesting idea, but just not sure how many promoters would buy into it because it’s risky, so it would probably require a break from IndyCar on the sanction fee front. But I’ll send your suggestion to R.P.

Q: Just watched the Next Gen NASCAR night testing in Charlotte on the road course, and realized the track is fully lighted. It would be nice for IndyCar to have a Saturday night race there. The track is perfectly located to cater the many frustrated East Coast race fans. For me it’s a no-brainer. Your thoughts?

Phildawg

RM: When three spectators were killed by debris from a crash in an IRL race at Charlotte in 1998, it was a given there would be no more IndyCars on the oval. But Josef Newgarden drove an IndyCar on the Charlotte roval in 2019, so I imagine that layout remains a possibility down the road.

Q: I find it interesting and somewhat amusing to read about F1 drivers considering coming to IndyCar. Where do they think they will go? I don’t see a lot of cars available. I think their egos are getting in the way of reality.

John, Seville, Ohio

RM: So do I. First off, unless it was Hamilton, Verstappen or Leclerc, none of those other guys would excite fans, but if they brought $4 million it would excite owners and they could find a ride. But nobody is knocking down the door to sign Grosjean. Sometimes when you’re out of work it’s good to make up your own news, and this falls into that category.

Sometimes, the ‘F1 driver to IndyCar’ thing actually works out pretty well. Michael Levitt/Motorsport Images

Q: Did you expect Marco to challenge for the win after qualifying on the pole at Indy? For whatever reason I had a strong hunch he would finish 13th. If I were able, I would have put money on it. Conversely, I have no idea what to expect from Jimmie J. next season, but I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on him.

John Luther, Hakalau, HI

RM: I didn’t think he’d win, but I did think he’d be in the top 10 and maybe the top five. As for J.J., it’s going to be a very steep learning curve and tough year to be a rookie.

Q: With Jimmie Johnson slated to compete on road courses and street courses for the next two seasons (and hopefully an Indianapolis 500 or two), it got me wondering, if there was any Cup Series driver you would want to see run road courses, or street courses in IndyCar, who would that be? I would take my favorite current driver, Chase Elliott. Six of his 19 lifetime NASCAR national series wins have came on road courses, and he has a road course win in what used to be called the K&N Pro Series West. So it wouldn’t hurt in my opinion to see what Chase could do in an IndyCar at somewhere like Mid Ohio, or Road America or Barber.

Kevin, North Carolina

RM: Love to see Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson and Elliott give it a go on a road course as well as the Indianapolis 500. They’d need a proper test program, but all three could handle it, and I imagine they’d fare better at IMS than Mid-Ohio.

Q: NASCAR Cup Series does the Busch Clash and the All-Star Race each year. Will the IndyCar series ever do a non-points, money-only race?

Chris Fiegler, Latham, NY

RM: CART had the Marlboro Challenge from 1987-92 at Miami, Laguna Seca and Nazareth and the winners were Michael Andretti (twice), Rick Mears, Bobby Rahal, Al Unser Jr. and Emerson Fittipaldi.

Q: How good and cost-effective was the Panoz DP01? It only had one season to shine. Do you think that we are years behind where we could be with IndyCar technology because after the unification, IndyCar kept the old Dallara for another three years before developing the DW12?

Matthew Fornaro, Parkland, FL

RM: The Panoz was a racy car but no less affordable than anything else as I recall, and when Tony George spent all that money putting the two series back together he wasn’t going to dump Dallara. But the economy made spec cars a necessity, and I’m not sure how much technology would have been gained. I’m not smart enough to answer that.

Q: Hi from an old guy. I wanted to thank you for your article about Bill Marvel. I did not know he was gravely ill, but you explained that kindly. What I am thrilled about and for which I am thanking you is the welcomed recognition you gave this great human being. I loved that guy. He was a workman among workers. And he was one of the most unassuming and humble people I have ever met. Thanks, Robin.

Dan Cotter

RM: You are a successful and racy old guy who used to field cars at the Indy 500 and on the CART circuit, and I appreciate your note. ‘Marvelous’ was something else, and should have run USAC because he would have taken it to the top. I spoke to Bill yesterday and he sounded weak, but still had that amazing spirit. He was thrilled that A.J., Mario and Uncle Bobby had all called him. Hope things are good with you, Dan.

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