Robin Miller's Mailbag for August 11, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Robin Miller's Mailbag for August 11, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

Insights & Analysis

Robin Miller's Mailbag for August 11, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

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Q: Congratulations to the organizers of the Nashville IndyCar race for an amazing event that has the potential to become one of the premier events in IndyCar.

Regarding the high number of yellow flags, while some changes to the track layout would obviously be helpful in some of the tight places, I feel the drivers and teams need to accept more responsibility for putting on a good show for the fans. Just because you can pull alongside another car and attempt a pass in a corner that’s the width of my driveway, doesn’t mean you should. There’s more to the cost/benefit analysis of a risky move than the chance of wrecking your own car or your competitor’s car, there’s also the issue of making the 70,000 enthusiastic fans sit through another yellow flag. One yellow flag was caused when a team sent a driver back out when they knew the car might be difficult or impossible to control. On a tight circuit like that?

I assume the reasoning was, “If we wreck, we’re no worse off than we are now just sitting in the pits.” True, but the fans are much worse off with yet another yellow flag. It seems to me the teams and drivers need to be more conscious of the fan experience in their decision making. I assume all the teams would love to come back to Nashville, it was a such a great setting. Thirty-three yellow flag laps does not help the cause.

Scott Newton, Santa Barbara, CA

RM: When you are painted into a corner with a 200mph race car and you are going 40mph bad things can happen — drivers take ill-advised chances and Nashville just had lots of sloppy driving. So hopefully they’ll open up a couple corners, and the drivers will use heads and put on a show like IndyCar is capable of.

Q: This is my first time writing to the Mailbag. I began to follow you right at the tail end of your time with the Indy Star. I don’t believe I’ve missed an article since! I was also an avid Wind Tunnel viewer. I had the opportunity to speak with you at Milwaukee a few years back, and you were quite accommodating. You have always written and said what was on your mind, which has made you quite fun to follow. Thank you for all those years!

I do have a current IndyCar question. Back in the day there was a lot of opportunity to rent tracks and test privately, which allowed drivers to develop. Certainly, the budgets were different then. Jimmie Johnson has had to do most of his learning on race weekends. While it is the same for everyone, Johnson and Carvana really add commercially to IndyCar. Target was the last team sponsor I recall putting drivers regularly in commercials. His success, or simply some improvement, would be a big PR lift for the series. It would need to be equal for all rookies, but wouldn’t it be beneficial to adjust the rules to allow additional test days, or extra practice sessions on race weekends to increase seat time?

Kent
Hudson, IL

RM: Kent, thanks for all your support over the years. And you are spot-on in terms of testing for rookies, because they are already way behind everyone else so why punish them and their teams, especially if they are new to the series. An extra set of tires on Friday is hardly a reward because you are a rookie. But just pay attention to the progress Jimmie has made over the last few months, and he’s only a second or so behind the big dogs. What else could people expect? Wait until he gets to the oval next May.

The learning curve is real. Barry Cantrell/Lumen Digital Agency

Q: I see no point saying that Nashville was a bad race, a disaster, and so many other adjectives. I believe people are overreacting. It wasn’t great, that’s true. It was a wreck-fest, also true. But the last 30 laps were not bad at all. I had to follow the race from the IndyCar app. I followed those laps from Herta’s in-car, and I felt it was pretty intense. You could really feel the tension rising in him, and at the same time you could feel Ericsson solid as a rock and cold as a Dixon.

Yes, there’s a lot to improve, on the track especially, and some old guns, namely Willy P, need to calm down. But I think all of this is a bit too much. Let’s not forget it is a new track, a new promoter, a lot of excitement coming into the race, the largest field of the year (outside the 500). Plus, the track had a lot of atypical features — it was almost an experimental race. And yes, there was anxiety everywhere. But there is huge potential, and in the end, when you look at the results, you see that the greatest are still the greatest. And Marcus deserves the “Bumpy Rider award” for winning at the bumpiest tracks.

Thank you, cheers from Argentina.

Ignacio Agustin Aguirre

RM: Scott Borchetta has been working on promoting an IndyCar race for more than a decade. It’s only one race and it wasn’t as boring to watch as Mario and Little Al lapping the field at Long Beach year in and year out. So to quote Aaron Rodgers, just relax. It was only one race.

Q: Just wanted to say thank you for all that you have done for IndyCar, and continue to do for the sport. I can’t imagine what you’re going through right now, but your decades of passion covering the sport are incredibly inspiring. I wish I had the opportunity to say hello to you in person in Toronto, but alas… As a Canadian, missing not just one but two years of IndyCar racing really stinks. Do you think IndyCar misses Canada as much as its fans miss them? I would be absolutely heartbroken if Toronto does not return for 2022.

Thanks again for all that you do, and I’ll keep wishing you all the best.

Nick S. Mississauga
Ontario, Canada

RM: IndyCar probably has a many fans in Canada as the United States, and losing Vancouver, Edmonton and now possibly Toronto is disastrous for the series. I just hope the negotiations with Montreal continue but I’d be in favor of heading to Mosport. And I don’t wanna hear about the lack of runoff area. I like Bobby Rahal’s logic — where is the runoff area at IMS?

MX-5 Cup | Round 12 – VIR

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