Robin Miller’s Mailbag for June 9, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Robin Miller’s Mailbag for June 9, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Insights & Analysis

Robin Miller’s Mailbag for June 9, presented by Honda Racing / HPD


Q: What a great race! Plenty of action passing for the lead and serious competition. What more can you ask for? Easy, watching Helio celebrate! The man is like a kid at Christmas — so much pure joy on his face and in his actions. Running down the front straight to share that joy with as many fans as possible has to be one of the things I will always remember. As a fan I was very happy with this outstanding race.

Boyce Williams, Salisbury, NC

RM: Palou also drove a masterful race, but the best possible result for IndyCar on a national and international platform was having Helio in Victory Lane.

Q: Congrats again to the Shanks for their vision and perseverance. They climbed their way up the ranks one step at a time. First time they tried to go Indy car racing, neither Honda nor Chevy would give them an engine lease. Then they won a championship for Honda in IMSA GTD, yet Honda denied them the Acura DPi program first time around, giving it to Penske. Never did the Shanks pout, they just continued to build their organization. Extremely well done!

Scott (will be at Belle Isle for both races)

RM: I think that’s one of the many reasons that Shank is so popular and respected – he’s just a racer to the core and keeps battling regardless of what’s thrown at him.

That’s what being rewarded for 10+ years of grind looks like. Barry Cantrell/Motorsport Images

Q: Wasn’t the 40% capacity number tied to the 300,000 total number that can fit into the Speedway? I’d say the grandstands had to be greater than 40%, but for example, my group’s seats in Paddock 1 were spaced so that in 24 seats through two rows we had 13 tickets and nobody else was near us. As loyal Lot 2 campers, should we be concerned with Penske taking over the mobile home parks and Lot 2 and building a Taj Mahal museum like they have at Lambeau Field? The Speedway never fails to impress newcomers – we added two new guys to our 29-year-old group and they’re now officially hooked. IMS Ticket Office, Doug Boles, City of Indianapolis and all the way up to RP – thank you for giving us our first real normalcy in 15 months.

Clint, Chicago, IL

RM: It was tied to a number, but I’d say it was closer to 300,000 judging by the size of the crowd. Or maybe they were simply allowed to sell more than 135,000 in the final tally. Not sure what R.P.’s museum plans are, but campers should be safe.

Q: The extra boost on Friday and qualifying offers good anticipation for increased speeds. Is that the reason it is only used for those days? Any particular reason it is not used all week, or have I answered my own question? I am sure, as many have stated, there were more than 135,000 in attendance. Most were without masks. Have you heard if the Speedway had any blowback from Marion County Health Dept on this? The racing was great, and a new record set for the speed.

Other than the caution that ruined Dixon’s and Rossi’s day, how much of a part did the cooler temperatures play in how the race played out? At the end, the lead group was catching a rather large group of slower traffic. Had there been another five to 10 laps, I wonder what effect it may have had on the outcome?

Ken, Bloomington, IN

RM: I guess they think it’s going to help the crowd, but I haven’t seen any real indicators of that. I imagine Pagenaud and Ed Carpenter. wish there had been five more laps, but not sure Helio was showing his hand. No reports from health department about COVID-19 at Indy. No clue about cooler temps except it likely helped the tires live a little longer.

Q: I read with great interest Marshall Pruett’s article regarding what caused the inordinate number of crashes in the pit in during the Indy 500. A couple questions come to mind. Why was this fix not discovered by the Indy race inspection crew? It had to be common knowledge by the mechanics in all or almost all teams that this is a way to keep the pads from accidentally dragging at high speeds on this big oval. Too many different teams had failures for it to be a secret option. Why was this “fix” to prevent brake drag allowed by the stewards?

Marshall said he estimated only five cars did not use the fix to prevent brake drag. What is the basis for this speculation? Hunter-Reay’s failure was not the rear brakes; rather, the front brakes locked and therefore his car did not swerve into the pit wall. It was not clear to me that both front and rear could be and were tweaked to prevent brake drag. It was my assumption that mechanics believe the rear brakes were more apt to drag than the front brakes, so only the rear brakes were tweaked. The consequences of these wrecks could have caused personal injury or even death of a crew member close to the crash. Tampering with the normal pad to rotor gap seems like an accident waiting to happen. It was a totally insane decision by the crew chief. What else can you add to this story?

Thomas Grimes, Waco, TX

RM: Racing used to be about taking chances or thinking outside the box but spec racing has taken away almost everything, so you try one of the few things available. Speculation? Marshall is a damn good reporter who is technically savvy and knows which people to ask so I can’t add anything, and why would I even try after his story?