Robin Miller’s Mailbag for April 28, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Robin Miller’s Mailbag for April 28, presented by Honda Racing / HPD


Robin Miller’s Mailbag for April 28, presented by Honda Racing / HPD


Q: I gotta tell ya Robbie, when I first heard that IndyCar was going to a two-day format for the road courses, I didn’t like the idea. But then I checked out the Road to Indy TV site. It was fun on Friday to watch USF2000 and see the Force Indy Team with Myles Rowe’s debut, along with Jackson Lee, the son of our buddy Kevin. And in Indy Pro 2000, I liked watching my local guy Braden Eves dominate the weekend. In that same class, I got to know Jacob Abel (aka Jabel) over the winter through iRacing, so it was great to see him compete in a real car. Until now I have paid passing interest to the Road to Indy. So I don’t know if Jay Frye did it by design or happenstance, but the two-day weekend really opened my eyes to the RTI classes. May they should do a little more promotion the next road course event?

Don Davis, Chardon, OH

RM: Let’s face it, other than Long Beach (free Fridays) and Gateway, there’s not even a lot of people on Fridays at the big boys — Road America and Mid-Ohio – except the campers, unless they were co-hosting IMSA. It saves everyone money, and I believe that’s the goal. Ovals should always be one day because nobody goes to practice or qualifying, but the promoters need Saturdays everywhere else.

Q: Riddle me this, ‘Millerman’. Indy Lights is a step up from USF2000 that is a step up from Indy Pro 2000. [ED: You’re close – Indy Pro 2000 sits between Lights and USF2000 on the ladder]. What each of these has in common compared to IndyCar are incremental increases in speed, performance, downforce and race length. What each of these series does not have in common with IndyCar is pit stops, and therefore experience in getting on and off pit road under race conditions. Why is that?

As an ever-increasing Indy Lights fan, why not have a uniform period of time where the driver must come to pit road if for nothing else a timed stop, say 10 seconds within a defined lap window and maybe an extra second or two hold for a driver missing the marks? This isn’t meant to be gimmicky, but would aid in getting drivers ready for IndyCar pit stops and probably shake up the standings a bit in rewarding drivers for quick in-laps and out-laps. This would also result in a clearer distinction between Indy Lights and the pair of 2000 series. Why isn’t this a good idea?

Chris B. (missing races in Loudon) NH

RM: It’s not a bad idea, but it’s not practical from a budget standpoint because if you’re going to go to the trouble to pit, then why not add distance and refuel? Teams would have to buy refueling rigs and likely beef up their pit stop crew if the races were lengthened. It works pretty well right now as a sprint race, and some of the graduates have adapted to pit stops quite nicely. There is finally a decent car count again so let’s not run anyone away.

Q: First off, love your article about Jimmie Johnson and how great he is for IndyCar. I am totally stoked for the season. Tracy got picked up for St. Pete; was that because NBC realized how great he is in the booth in Alabama?


RM: A management decision came down after Barber that said it was a mistake to not have him at every race, and the majority of IndyCar fans applauded.

The Road to Indy series are winning themselves some new fans. Image by Road to Indy

Q: Hey, I have not been keeping up with the Mailbag so I’m sorry if this has been a previous topic. Has there been any talk of getting IndyCar on Netflix or Hulu in the way F1 is? The Netflix show has saved F1 and made the sport grow to fans that would never be racing fans. Also, from what I read, team sponsorship has gone up a lot from this. I think even being late to the game, IndyCar should try and do the same type of show. The danger and drama is just as high, and here in America we know the names of a lot of people from the glory days of the sport that are still team owners.

IndyCar would have to make sure to spend money to push the show, because just making a show don’t mean people will watch it. Netflix would have to be behind this. I mean, imagine the biggest race in the world (one of the most dangerous races) the Indy 500 being covered in the show. Has there been any talk of this?

Rick H.

RM: I’ve heard there may have been a few discussions, but for Netflix or Hulu to jump in and spend big money is kinda doubtful considering how bad the IndyCar ratings are. F1 has a global audience in the multi-millions; IndyCar couldn’t get one million to watch the season opener. I realize the F1 show has helped grow its popularity, but other than the Indy 500 I’m not sure anyone would step up even though the racing is great.

Q: The article about the progress Chevrolet is making with the new engine grabbed my attention. It’s great that it looks like the cars will have 900hp combined with the hybrid system – a number that reminds us of the halcyon CART days. I think 90hp is fantastic, but if they’re only going to rev to not-quite 12,000, only part of the equation is solved. Personally, I’d prefer 800hp with 13,000+ rpm. I’m aware it all costs money, but the sound those CART engines made screaming at high rpm were half – maybe more than half – of their appeal back then. An extra 1,000 rpm isn’t extreme, but it would make a better sound. Since we have HP projections, are there any on where the redline might be with the new engines?

Eric Z, Lancaster, NY

RM: Over to Marshall: “I’d love to hear 14-15,000 revs, but there’s no way it will happen unless the auto industry undergoes a massive spike in sales and record profits to pass down to its racing program managers. You are right – the extra revs cost a fortune; with the added rotational speed, you need lighter and more robust parts, and since the series has a long mileage expectation from the motors, the price of spinning big revs would take the annual lease prices to a level teams could not afford. More revs, better sounds. I wish we had CART-era dollars, TV ratings, and crowd sizes. Many things would be different, and better, but, as our pal Juan Pablo Montoya loves to say, ‘It is what it is.’”