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 just watched the 1994 Indy 500 again, and loved all the excitement about the Beast engine. Great race. What also caught my attention was a comment I think Sam Posey made about the apron being gone. This may have been one of the first races not to have it (can’t remember when it was removed). Anyway, he stated something along the lines of, since the apron was gone the spins that they were witnessing (practice, qualifying and in the race) were less dangerous to the drivers. In other words, the cars were less likely to hit the wall at bad angles. This seemed true during the race, and I was trying to remember if there had been any really bad accidents since the apron’s removal. The only bad one that I can remember was Sebastien Bourdais’s near head-on into the wall a few years ago. So my question is, has the missing apron made racing at the Indy 500 safer?

Lt Col (R) Robin Athey

RM: That was the BS put out by the track supervisor at the time, and I asked a few members of the medical team and they said it wasn’t true. Drivers were getting pummeled because they sat so far forward in the car. And if the apron gives a driver a place to save his car (which it always did) or make a pass (ask Mears and Michael) then why not reinstate it?

Q: In the aftermath of the Miami Grand Prix announcement, a lot of people have complained that F1 should be going to somewhere like Laguna, Elkhart Lake or The Glen instead of what’s been called a car park. Firstly, do the owners of those aforementioned tracks want to host an F1 race? Secondly, would they want to splash out to bring their tracks up to FIA Grade 1 standards and to pay the astronomical race fees?

Jordan, Warwickshire, UK

RM: You just answered your own question. The Glen is packed for NASCAR and doesn’t have to pay whatever ridiculous sanction fee F1 demands.

If F1 wanted a parking lot for its second U.S. race it could have just gone to Houston. Masche/Motorsport Images

Q: I loved Simon Pagenaud’s golden livery for the race at St. Petersburg.  It looked like a billion dollar car. My understanding is that liveries are not applied with paint, but with a wrap. Since I’ve never seen it done, I guess/envision colorized cellophane being wrapped around the fuselage and wings and made permanent with the use of heat application. (This is where one could add a joke about them using Simon Pagenaud’s hair dryer.) Am I close? Can you or Marshall post a photo of a wrap being applied and/or the heat being applied? See you at the Texas doubleheader.

Mark Synovitz
Altus, OK

RM: Back to Marshall: “Hi Mark. If you type something like ‘Video of race car being wrapped’ or ‘How do car wraps work’ into Google, I’m confident you’ll be rewarded with everything you’re looking for.”

Q: Not on the topic of IndyCar, but as a fan and historian of open-wheel racing, can you name anybody over the last 40-50 years who has posted the results accomplished in 2020 by Kyle Larson in Paul Silva’s No. 57, along with the midget wins (cars also built and tuned by Silva)? They pretty much cleaned house! Kyle raced 97 times last year and won 46 features including at least 12 WoO wins, 2 Chili Bowl wins, the Turkey Night GP, the Hangtown 100, and the Hoosier Hundred. He even had a Dirt Late Model win in one of the few times he ever stepped into one of those cars!

I am thinking that Larson is the closest thing we’ll ever see to the old-time all-around drivers like Foyt, Andretti, Ward, Rutherford, PJ, and on par with Kinser, Wolfgang, Swindell, Allen, Opperman, or any of the pioneering WoO drivers. A true do it all, fast in everything shoe! If he could only get a chance to race the 500 someday… What say you about probably the most truly talented driver to come along in many a moon? Thank you.

Dwight Anderson, Sacramento, CA

RM: Kyle’s year was extra special because it was with and without wings in sprinters, midgets and late model dirt stockers. But allow me to submit Steve Kinser: in 1987 he won 46 WoO features, including 12 in a row, and 24 of the last 26 events. He has won the Knoxville Nationals a record 12 times, the Gold Cup Race of Champions 12 times, and the Kings Royal at Eldora seven times. He won 20 WoO championships and 690 “A” features (including full-field preliminary night wins). Doug Wolfgang won 45 sprint car features in 1976 with Bob Trostle and Sammy Swindell triumphed 28 times in 1981 on his way to the WoO title. Kyle is the Parnelli Jones/A.J./Mario of our era because of his versatility.