Welcome to the Robin Miller Mailbag presented by Honda Racing / HPD. You can follow the Santa Clarita, California-based company at: hpd.honda.com and on social media at @HondaRacing_HPD and https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD.
Quetions for Robin can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to the high volume of questions received, we can’t always guarantee that your letter will be printed, but Robin will get to as many as he can. Published questions have been edited for clarity. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of RACER or Honda/HPD.
ED’S NOTE: We had some unexpected logistical hurdles to overcome while pulling this edition of the Mailbag together, and Robin and the RACER.com team would like to extend their thanks to Steve Shunck and Tim Coffeen for their help in getting it across the line.
Q: At the Music City GP, Will Power crashed into two teammates, ruining their race. In addition, he was constantly at speed through yellow flags. He was talked to on Friday, but continued to do it on Saturday. Did (or should) R.P. or Cindric have a sit-down with Will to straighten him out?
RM: Behind closed doors, I’m sure Will got his ass chewed out by R.P. and T.C. It looks like he’s driving scared, even though he just signed a new contract. At Team Penske it’s a no-no to take your teammates out. I’d suggest he just calm down and finish a few races.
Q: Robin, don’t know how well you know Roger Penske, but does he ever get really mad? Over the weekend I saw Brad Keselowski wreck teammate Joey Logano at Watkins Glen, then saw Will Power take out both Simon Pagenaud and Scott McLaughlin at Nashville. On top of that, none of the seven Penske cars entered in those two events ever really factored into the outcome of either race. Had to be frustrating for a guy who is accustomed to success. His public persona is so professional and buttoned-down — just wonder if he ever lights into people on a Monday morning after the races.
Glad you are back, and continued best wishes.
Mike in Marietta, GA
RM: Roger does everything behind closed doors. He doesn’t dress people down in public. But after this year’s qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, my understanding is he had a come-to-Jesus meeting with the whole team and laid down the law. But it’s only garnered one IndyCar win for the most experienced team in the paddock so far this year.
Q: I’m a local Chicago guy and I’ve been going to races for the past 20 years or so (Milwaukee, Road America, Indy, Joliet, Iowa, Phoenix, and now Nashville). I was at the last three Milwaukee races and the last three Phoenix races, and I can’t tell you how disappointing it was to see the crowds shrink and the races dropped from the schedule. I have no idea why so many “fans” are crapping all over the Nashville race (including Marshall). I know it must have been brutal watching on TV, but being in the crowd was so much fun.
As everyone knows, you see very little of the race when you’re at a street course. You go for the energy of the event, and boy was there energy. My wife and I were sitting in the finally completed Grandstand 6 and really enjoyed being there. It was hot, it was humid, and there were tons of excited fans there. I had no issues with the yellows or reds. It gave me a chance to grab a beer, use the restroom and chat with my fellow IndyCar fans. The city of Nashville and the promoters should be extremely proud of the event they just put on, and I can’t wait to go again next year.
RM: It’s good to hear that you have some patience. You have to give track designer Tony Cotman a chance to hear from the drivers and make some changes to help the racing. But it seemed like the majority of the people that stuck around in that weather and heat came away entertained, and that’s a good start.
Q: Welcome back Robin and continued prayers for good health! Your article Right band, wrong song summed up the race perfectly, and hopefully we will have a better show next year as Nashville’s support for IndyCar was impressive.
However, the last several laps did become entertaining when Colton Herta was hunting down Marcus Ericsson. With six laps to go Colton found the wall instead of the lead… oh wait, TV viewers missed it because NBCSN was showing a fierce battle for 15th position.
Could you kindly request NBC to focus on the leaders during the final 10 laps?
Roger in Indy
RM: It’s very seldom we miss anything up front. We’re always trying to show the best battles on the track. You don’t expect the fastest the car on the track to plug it in the wall.
Q: I want to thank Nashville for an electric atmosphere and access to downtown, and hope to see many more years. But is there any silly season talk of Jimmie Johnson? How much longer will Ganassi put up with this experiment?
Rest in peace Bob Jenkins, you were a great gentleman.
RM: Yes, there was a lot of enthusiasm in Nashville, and hopefully they race there for many more years. Jimmie has a three-year deal with Chip Ganassi, and the Carvana commercials are the best thing for open-wheel racing since Alex Zanardi and Jimmy Vasser in the 1990s. We’re pretty sure J.J. will be running the Indy 500 next year.