Q: Willy P did not appear too happy on Saturday when Hinch made it difficult to pass him, and indicated later one solution is to give lapped drivers their lap back under caution flag. Do you think “lucky dog” will someday enter into the lexicon of IndyCar?
Dave Morgason, Plainfield, IN
RM: I’m not a religious person but I pray every day we never have to deal with the lucky dog.
Q: First Newgarden complains about Hinch going too slow in qualifying, then Power can’t pass him during the race and he wants IndyCar to make him pull over and let him by, even if he is on the same lap and trying not to go a lap down. Then he says IndyCar should change the rules to make all slower cars move over. Just give them their lap back at the yellow. I have a better idea. Why don’t you just shut up and drive!
RM: Fair point Joe, fans don’t want to hear bitching and moaning about aggressive driving.
Q: If there was a most popular driver vote right now who do you feel would win? I think Grosjean would run away with it. I really thought people would hate on him when he came over, and I’m happy to see they see what fans of his have always known. He is really fast but has been stuck in bad cars and he tries to drive them at 110%, and when you do that you are prone to mistakes. I really hope next year he gets a good ride because that team is holding him back (pit crew is terrible and losing him spots every race. At Road America he would pit in the top five, come back out in 10th, get it back and the same would happen again. I see him making a run for the championship next year.
RM: I don’t know about most popular, but it’s been a long time since a rookie made such an impact with the fans and I think Grosjean is in the top five. I think IndyCar fans gravitated to Grosjean because he instantly embraced the series and showed speed right out of the box.
Q: It seems only fitting to ask about this in the IndyCar Mailbag because everyone shared the track this weekend. What is your take on the curb that caused the mayhem? Did IMS green-light the fix or did NASCAR? Who makes that call, and what’s your take on it? I give you permission to use an entire page on this one.
Ryan in West Michigan
P.S. Keep fighting. I pray you are as comfortable as you can be as you deal with the cancer.
RM: Doug Boles claims they were shocked by the track’s deterioration so that’s my only source of reference. Tony Cotman is collecting photos, but he thinks the stock cars just beat the hell out off it.
Q: First off, congratulations on being inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame last week and it was great to see you at the Brickyard in good spirits. Hopefully I will see you this weekend at Gateway. Question after NASCAR’s disastrous event at the Brickyard: One has to wonder what future of the series has at the venue. It started out really well back in 1994 when Jeff Gordon won, but it seems like after the 2008 tire fiasco thing have gone downhill, with less people attending the event. Do you see NASCAR going back to the ovals at the Brickyard or making major modifications at the road course?
Alistair, Springfield, MO
RM: I think NASCAR realizes the IMS road course is much better show than the oval in the Brickyard’s heyday, so I don’t see anything changing.
Q: I can’t express how much I enjoyed all the reverence you were shown last weekend. Truly, truly deserved. Your work through all these years will stand the test of time. So fortunate we have you.
Charles D Stetson, Earleville
RM: I can’t either, because it was equal parts mind-numbing, unexpected, beyond flattering and the best day of my life. Thanks for your note.
Q: With all due respect to Will Power, the last thing IndyCar racing needs is some variation of NASCAR’s Lucky Dog for lapped cars. If you watched all of the races at Indy this weekend, the difference between the “pure” racing in IndyCar and the gimmick-filled NASCAR races was starkly obvious. I consider myself a racing fan, but stopped closely following NASCAR years ago. I just can’t get past all of the artificial crap they’ve loaded into their show. I purposely used the word “show,” not “races.”
From your past writing, I know that you and I disagree on the late-race red flags the IndyCar uses in an attempt to ensure a green flag finish. That is one step away from NASCAR’s overtime and does not belong in auto racing. Once you start implementing things like the lucky dog, where do you stop? Let’s leave well enough alone.
Bill Carsey, North Olmsted, OH
RM: I don’t think we have to worry about that ever happening, and I’m hearing the drivers are moving to get rid of push-to-pass, which would please me greatly. People don’t watch NASCAR for racing, it’s just pre-packaged Barnum & Bailey.