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


Q: Dixon nailed it in your column. They need to tweak the Nashville layout. I would also look at finding a way to tweak the restart zone to minimize the accordion effect that ruined Bourdais’ race and created the incident with Power and Pagenaud that blocked the track. Despite the mess, that race was still compelling, and I was entertained.  Now, then… can I get paddock passes for less than $1,500 next year if I decide to go?


RM: That’s a great question. And I couldn’t believe the prices when I saw them. But obviously R.P.’s team did their homework and figured the pricing was right. But what’s wrong with a $50 dollar pit pass?

Q:  More yellows and reds than a Florida weather map. Nashville deserves better, so was it just a “first time here getting used to the track” scenario, or do they need to tweak the layout? Currently it seems very crash-prone. The downtown turns around 4 through 8 is one lane and should be wider. Need to get two lanes through there, although Herta pulled off a couple of nifty passes at Turn 8. Maybe just a wide 180-degree turn at the base of the bridge. Think Long Beach coming on to Shoreline Drive. The restart area is suspect. Maybe restart after Turn 8 coming up the bridge, which would create some aggressive passing on the bridge with the three lanes of width, then everyone is at speed entering Turn 9.

Great crowd there, and they need to want to come back next year. Also need to start earlier or add headlights to the race cars. Your thoughts?

Jeff, Florida

RM: Let’s give Tony Cotman and the drivers some time to talk about improving the track, because they will. Like Scott Dixon saidm, “First race, man, always going to need to make some adjustments to the layout.” The late start time was influenced by the closing day of the Olympics and the NASCAR race leading into the IndyCar race.

Q: Hi Robin. I think I read somewhere that the new Indy cars will have onboard starters. After watching the Nashville race, I think it would have maybe saved a dozen caution laps. It was really painful to watch stalled cars just sitting there waiting to get fired back up! 

Hope you’re feeling better!


RM: That’s news to me that onboard starters will be part of the new IndyCar package. It would be good for the spectators and the show, but evidently there are too many mechanical challenges.

There was lots to like about IndyCar’s first visit to the streets of Nashville –and plenty of scope to make the second visit considerably better. Phil Abbott/Lumen Digital Agency

Q:  Let’s get into it – Nashville. IndyCar brings the race to the masses, lots of people attending their first IndyCar race, and we give them an embarrassing show? The thing is, we all knew this was going to happen, and we went through with it anyhow. Fixing the layout is a given. Then, IndyCar needs to institute a real penalty system. If you cause a yellow you’re penalized; if you cause two cautions you miss a race. These cautions are not only deciding races, but they are affecting the championship. We can start to fix this by getting rid of the unqualified drivers in the series (we all know who they are).

And finally, my pet peeve. Why does it take so long to get back to green action? The track is clear and for some reason they continue to run several laps under caution.

Niagara Falls, NY

RM: Let’s give IndyCar some time to sort things out and try to make the layout racier. Think about the last few years and how good the road course and street course racing has been. Let’s have some faith. The talent level has never been younger, better or faster, and there are only a couple wankers trying to be IndyCar drivers. As far as yellows, the length of time it takes to restart the races in IndyCar and NASCAR can be downright embarrassing and make people change the channel.

Q: What did we just watch in Nashville? I understand the economics of racing in Nashville, but how many casual fans are coming back next year after the demolition derby on Sunday? Hardcore fans will be back. Those that were there to see what it was all about will be bored. The surface of that track was absurd. Your thoughts?

Jimmie Johnson. I’m not a hater, I want him to succeed, but I heard him saying he’s improving each race. By any objective measure that’s not true. He’s embarrassing himself out there and I hope he doesn’t hurt himself. 


RM: Nashville will improve through the years, just like J.J. has this season. Pay attention to the timing sheets. If he was embarrassing he’d be five seconds behind. He’s not the slowest qualifier, and his teammates are very impressed by his progress and work ethic, Dixon has said he’s never seen anyone more committed.

Q: I’m beyond ecstatic to be able to write (and complain) about something in IndyCar to you once again! I truly don’t know what to say about this Nashville race, other than images of the ’96 U.S. 500 or 2002 Surfers Paradise debacles enter into my head. Seemed like a magnificent crowd/atmosphere, but if Tony Cotman cannot alter this course so that every passing zone is not a 90-degree left-hander with runoff being a concrete wall, I cannot see how they run it again. 


Greg from NJ

RM: Let’s give IndyCar and Tony Cotman a little leeway to make things better for a track that cost a fortune to build and drew the biggest crowd since the heyday of Vancouver. It will be run again, I can promise you that.

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