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


Q: In your article regarding Bill Marvel, there’s a photo of the Andretti brothers and Foyt at the 1966 Hoosier race. Mario won after Foyt’s brake pedal broke after leading 90 laps or so. The Andrettis are smiling whereas Foyt seems ready to fight, but as noted in the comments section, a hand is on Foyt’s arm looking like an attempt to calm Foyt down. Do you have any knowledge of what is transpiring in that photo? Regarding respect or lack of pertaining to Andretti and Foyt, how do they view each other?

 I saw an interview years ago in which Mario was asked whether he and Foyt would ever have dinner together, and Andretti said while smiling, “Yes, but A.J. would make me pay for it.” I’ve also heard and read that if A.J. is asked to sign something, and Mario has already signed it, that A.J. won’t sign it. Tony Stewart confirmed this during his Dinner with Racers podcast – true or false? What is the scoop between these two GOATs?

Alfred N, Northern, CA

RM: No drama after that 1966 Hoosier Hundred between the two to my knowledge. As for their relationship, it’s much better than people think. They call each other on their birthdays and they had a great breakfast at Daytona a few years ago that Mario called “one of the best meals of his life.” Sure, sometimes Tex gets a little surly about signing a photo if Andretti signed it first, but that’s all for show. They respect the hell out of each other, as they should, and they’re forever locked together in history.

Q: I was very surprised at your response to the question, ‘Who was the best all-time technically/mechanically savvy driver?’ Why did you choose to leave Dan Gurney off your list of A.J., Mario and Uncle Bobby from the glory days?

Michael Aldea, Hawthorne, NJ

RM: Because sometimes I am a moron. OK, the question was about the best IndyCar drivers and I always consider Gurney as F1/IndyCar/Trans Am/Can-Am, but obviously he left his mark at Indianapolis and was one of the sharpest chassis men ever. Good call though, The Big Eagle should have been at the top.

Q: I just drove by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and noticed that the home by Turn 2 that Mari Hulman-George used has been demolished. It must have happened recently, because the bulldozer and dumpsters are still there. A sign of progress in one way, but also sad! Any stories you can print about the history in that old home? I hear it was a fun place to be back in the day…

Scott A.

RM: I was only in the “Mouse House” once and I don’t know any stories, to be honest. I am a little surprised it came down but not sure what purpose it served anymore since I don’t think anyone had stayed there for years.

Q: I recall watching the Daytona 500 in 1972 on ABC’s Wide World of Sports (delayed coverage) when Foyt won driving the Wood Brothers 1971 Mercury. I believe he was so far ahead that late in the race Foyt made a surprise pit stop. He stormed into his pit box, rolled down the window and hollered, “How am I doing, boys!” Then roared off and went on to win by more than a lap.

Ron Rose

RM: Called Super Tex to get the scoop: “It’s kinda true, I was just having some fun with the boys and made an extra stop and told them to say hi to that pretty girl standing in our pits. They didn’t think it was too funny, but we won so I enjoyed it.”

It was probably easier for Leonard Wood to see the funny side of A.J.’s extra pit stop at Daytona ’71 once he’d won the race. Image via NASCAR

Q: I hope you’re doing well. I’ve recently moved up to New Hampshire and during my recent explorations of the area I found a road course in Tamworth. It’s a club track but a beautiful road course.

My question is, with the loss of any real race in the Northeast, what would it take for a track like this to be available to IndyCar? I know the track lacks grandstands and possible parking for fans but it could potentially be a great addition to the calendar and point on the map for the reach of IndyCar in the United States.

Joe K.

RM: Probably require lots of money to make it FIA and IndyCar ready, and not sure the owner wants to do anything but let enthusiasts have fun at speed. I’ll send this to Jay Frye though, thanks.

Q: I’m a first-time writer, long-time reader of the Mailbag. I look forward to reading it every week on Wednesday, and love your ‘Indy Tough Guys’ video series, too. I know that you’ve been meeting with some of the guys who used to run Indy on Fridays for lunch for a while. As a diehard IndyCar and USAC fan, do you all ever chat about the current crop of USAC drivers? If so, are there any drivers who impress the old guard nowadays? Bacon, Grant, Courtney, Windom, Darland, etc.?

Matt Krimmel, Prague, Czech Republic

RM: The Friday lunch gang is Lee Kunzman, Johnny Parsons, Merle Bettenhausen, Jerry Weeks, Gary Irvin and sometimes Pancho Carter and Lightin’ Larry Dickson, but we’ve had Justin Grant as our guest along with Brian Gerster. Not sure too many of the old-timers keep up with USAC but I know J.P. goes to Indiana midget and sprint week. They’re all big Kyle Larson fans and I think they appreciate those five guys you mentioned.

Q: I was wondering if you have heard any news regarding Alex Zanardi? Last I heard he was transferred to a rehab.

John Furnis

RM: Read about it here.

Q: I never heard the term ‘Brody Knob’ before. I’ve always called it a Necker’s Knob myself. However, it occurs to me that it would facilitate spinning the steering wheel to allow quick U-turns, J-turns, or “Brodies.” I’m referring the maneuver popularized by Broderick Crawford in the “Highway Patrol” TV series from the ’50s. Given the size of steering wheels and the slowness of the steering boxes in those days, a knob on the wheel would make it a lot easier to quickly spin the car around. I’ve probably only seen a couple episodes of that series and don’t remember if he had that knob installed in his police car.

I did a ride-along at an autocross a few years back with a paraplegic driving his RX-8. He used a knob on the steering wheel. That allowed him to steer with his left hand and operate the gas/brake control with his right. The knob looked fairly incongruous in a sports car like the RX-8. It sure worked for him, though. Really enjoy reading the RM Mailbag, and any opportunity to see your commentary on TV.

Russell B., Bedford

RM: Thanks for that history lesson Russell, and thanks for reading the Mailbag.