The RACER Mailbag, November 24

The RACER Mailbag, November 24

Insights & Analysis

The RACER Mailbag, November 24

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Q: When the hybrid IndyCar debuts I expect that the pit release will not be as aggressive. Has IndyCar considered the use of tire warmers? I stopped watching F1 about 20 years ago and would generally hate to see IndyCar use anything that is commonly thought of as F1 technology, but in this case I think it may be a good idea – especially on the ovals, where it could prevent serious situations.

Another pit stop question that I have is, what changes must be made to the car when going from a track with left side service like Indy, to a track with right side service like Long Beach? At the very least it appears that body work would need to be changed, and does the fuel filler nozzle just pivot from one side to the other, or is there more to it than that? Thanks for keeping the Mailbag going, Robin was the best.

Bill, California

MP: Not sure where the notion of slower pit releases would come from, since we’ll have instant electric torque available from the ERS. I’m sure tire warmers have been considered, but why ruin the opening laps of a stint by removing the special ability of certain drivers to make speed with limited grip while others with less ability do not? Sports cars, both GTs and prototypes, went hybrid more than a decade before F1, and continue to do so today in the WEC, so that’s not a perceptual concern.

Fuel buckeyes are interchangeable from left to right, so it’s just a case of unbolting the unit and dropping it on the correct side. On the non-buckeye side, there’s quick-connect ports where teams connect the refueling system during regular sessions to add in the precise amount of fuel called for by the engineer for the next run. That port obviously switches sides as well depending on the track. Robin was indeed the best.

Q: I know that it is too early, but what drivers will race in both the IndyCar Grand Prix in late July and either a NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course or the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course?

Chris Fiegler, Latham, NY

MP: I reached out to get some insight on this from my pal Chris Fiegler from Latham, NY, and he said, “it is too early.”

Let’s get the the IndyCar/Xfinity rumor mill rolling with a random photo of Santino Ferrucci. John Harrelson/Motorsport Images)

Q: Marshall – I commend you for recommending that racing enthusiasts forego Amazon in favor of their local or favorite motorsports memorabilia shop. Some of us don’t have one of those but we do have our favorite or only independent local bookstore. When I read about Art Garner’s “Black Noon” (probably something Miller wrote), I figured there was a snowball’s chance in a very hot place that Chaucer’s Books in Santa Barbara would have it. But I knew they would order it for me. I called and, lo and behold, they had it in stock and set it aside for me. So, please give a shout out to local independent bookstores—those that are left anyway.

P.S. I enjoyed the photo of you and your Tiga Formula Ford. I didn’t know you raced. I was a corner worker in the SF Region in the late 1980s and early ’90s and probably waved a flag at you. (I’m not suggesting it was blue.)

Tom Hinshaw, Santa Barbara, CA

MP: It was probably blue. Thanks for being an SCCA volunteer. I don’t say this lightly: You and your track worker brethren are the unsung heroes of the sport. And the SCCA’s volunteers are the gold standard – have been forever.

Q: I love the call on the local bookstores. I’d love you to post a list of bookshops/publishers to circumvent Amazon.

RGS, Geneseo, NY

MP: Here’s a list that is by no means comprehensive, but should provide plenty of options. I left one or two off the list because I would not consider them to be reputable businesses.

The RACER Store has some stunning prints and goodies you won’t find anywhere else, and there’s also a nice selection of books and other memorabilia.

Although I had to go cold turkey a few years ago, most of my racing books, models, and other collectibles have been bought from The Motorsport Collector. Miller used TMC each year to send his friends all the latest books and calendars for birthday and Christmas gifts. TMC has also helped me to raise a lot of money for charities by holding blind auctions at no charge. Good people there in Illinois.

Blocks away from the Burbank airport in SoCal is the renowned Autobooks Aerobooks, and like TMC, they have an extensive collection of new and old racing and car books.

In Canada, (a longtime partner of my podcast, full disclosure) is more on the models, t-shirts, team gear, and stickers tip, than loaded with books. They’re heavy into IndyCar, which is unique among most of the memorabilia stores found outside of Indiana. They also have a lot of Miller swag, for those who were wondering.

Also in Canada, Mini Grid is a great resource that fits the TMC approach with a heavy emphasis on books and models. It’s been a while, but when I’ve ordered from them, they’ve been great to deal with.

I can vouch for those stores from firsthand experiences. The rest are options provided by friends in a Facebook Memorabilia group who fired in some other options like: (I wasn’t aware they were still in business, but they were huge in the 1990s and 2000s)
• Three Sisters and a Trunk In Speedway, IN
• Pasteiner’s Auto Hobbies in Birmingham, MI
• Racemaker Press, Octane Press, and Coastal 181, three of Miller’s favorite publishers