Q: Was great seeing A.J. Allmendinger give you a shout-out right after he got out of his car on Sunday. Agree with your article on Larson. When I first saw him during Speedweeks in Daytona eight-10 years ago, he was running several different series and kicking ass. Too bad NASCAR is where the money is. Wonder how he would pedal an F1 car?
RM: A.J.’s gesture was so classy, and it just floored me. If it’s got four wheels, Larson can master it.
Q: How about McLaren for Larson? He could do Indy and get an F1 look?
RM: Possible, but not really sure F1 has much appeal for him. If I’m the USGP I’d damn sure make has a run and at least get him a test day, but contracts, different engine manufactures, etc. make things difficult.
Q: Your take on Kyle Larson is freakin’ spot on. While Jeff Gordon may call him Mario Andretti-like, I think more of him as this generation’s A.J. Foyt. Get in anything and win. It would be a tremendous shot in the arm to get him into the 500, and as soon as possible. With The Captain running the show, he can make that happen. Keep whispering in Roger’s ear…
And finally, this morning we watched the stream of the Bob Jenkins memorial. It was very well done, and Paul Page’s eulogy was particularly moving. I only met Bob once, but he was the kind of guy where even a brief meeting would be remembered for a lifetime. I certainly will always carry that with me. Godspeed, Bob…
Jim Mulcare, Westbury, NY
RM: R.P. can make anything happen if he chooses, so I imagine Larson’s chances are contingent on whether Team Penske runs three or four cars next May, and how much Chevrolet wants to make it happen.
Q: Congratulations on your induction into the Motorsports Hall of Fame. It is good to see all of your years of great racing journalism being recognized. I attended the races at IMS this past weekend and the on-track action was pretty good overall… until the end of the Cup race, anyway. From that aspect it was a success, but did the attendance make the event a success? From what I saw, it did not look all that successful. But then it can be difficult to judge from Penthouse B what the rest of the track and infield looked like. Have you heard anything with regard to how the event performed? I ask because my wife and I really enjoyed the event and plan on going as long as it is scheduled.
Brian, Joliet, Illinois
RM: If NBC gives IMS $15 million, yes, was a success but obviously the crowds are nothing like they were 10 years before.
Q: Great article on Larson. I know there is a lot of public kumbaya between IndyCar and NASCAR, but is there a chance that NASCAR could influence Hendrick, or maybe Hendrick be a team guy and not let him do it? Or would it be good publicity for NASCAR as well? Maybe it’s Tony George hangover, but I have always felt that anything good for Indy isn’t always in NASCAR’s interest.
RM: I don’t know Rick Hendrick, but I’d have trouble believing he’d stifle anyone’s career, especially with the way Larson has been operating the past two years. If there really that much difference between Eldora and Indy? I think. Precision and speed are paramount to succeeding, and KL is oozing both. Not sure NASCAR is gung-ho for Larson to shine, but it helps their profile.
Q: Yes! It would be wins all around to get Kyle Larson in the Indy 500. IndyCar missed an opportunity not getting Jeff Gordon in, but maybe he didn’t want to or couldn’t. But Kyle is prime time.
RM: Oh, Jeff wanted to run Indy cars, but none of the owners would give him the time of day when he went to Cleveland in the late ’90s. So step-dad John Bickford took him south to make racing history.
Q: Why did Joseph Newgarden not get a penalty when he pushed Sato off the track on the last lap? Was it even reviewed?
RM: “Hi Paul. Thanks for watching on Saturday. The Stewards review all incidents during a race, including the interaction between the 30 and 2. While the 2 made contact with the 30 at T1, the 30 was defensive on the front straight, moving offline to force the 2 to the inside while the pass was in progress. This fits squarely within IndyCar’s ‘needle of responsibility’ framework, meaning that when responsibility to an incident does not shift overwhelmingly to one competitor, or when both competitors contribute equally to the outcome, the Stewards see no need to intervene.” – Kyle Novak, NTT IndyCar Series race director.
Q: What a weekend! Clearly the IndyCar was upstaged by all the drama Sunday, though it was a great victory for Will Power. Two things: What can IndyCar do to make its product equally compelling? A Sunday 250? 100-lap shootout on the oval, with NASCAR on Saturday? Also, what are your thoughts on the new “VIP” victory podium? It is horrible and it takes all the fun away from the crowd. There are no sightlines for 99% of those of us who stay for the end. Thank goodness that Helio and A.J. know better and celebrate with the fans first! Very popular wins, for sure. Also, what is the story behind the 134 vintage cars from the museum that had to be moved downtown so R.P. could use the space? There were no NASCAR cars on display at the museum and I heard (on good authority) that a few of them got lost in the shuffle.
Again, amazing weekend! A hit for the fans!
RM: I guess I don’t equate crashing cars with a compelling story, and IndyCar has had some of its best races ever in the past decade. The victory podium does nothing for anyone I know, but let the fans get as close as possible.