Welcome to the Robin Miller Mailbag presented by Honda Racing / HPD. You can follow the Santa Clarita, California-based company at: hpd.honda.com and on social media at @HondaRacing_HPD and https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD.
Your questions for Robin should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. We cannot guarantee we’ll publish all your questions and answers, but Robin will reply to you. And if you have a question about the technology side of racing, Robin will pass these on to Marshall Pruett and he will also answer here.
It almost goes without saying that Roger Penske’s purchase of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and NTT IndyCar series was one of the biggest stories not only in RACER.com’s history, but also for open-wheel racing and its followers. The reams of emails have been divided into comments and questions – just like last week with Hinch. I’m sorry if we didn’t use everyone’s, but as you can imagine there was quite a bit of duplication, so I tried to represent as many different opinions as possible. And the normal Mailbag resumes after the Penske questions. Thanks for everyone’s participation over these past two weeks. Robin.
My favorite saying during IndyCar races has always been A.B.P. – Anybody But Penske! I don’t hate Roger Penske, I was just tired of so many wins for his team. I was also tired of so-called racing fans loving the Penske team because it was easy to love the winner. I am an underdog lover, although I greatly appreciate Roger Penske and all he has done for the sport.
Yes, Penske deserves the wins, yes he is the best, yes he has the best team, yes to all of it. And even though lately IndyCar has become much more of an even playing field with the current car and engine packages, Penske still beats everyone else. Well, imagine me falling off of my chair the other day when I read that Roger bought the Speedway! I was shocked and elated! Hip hip hurray! Now things will improve! The sport I have loved since 1967 may just finally take its rightful place among the stick and ball sports. And who better to do this that The Captain! My friend and I are ecstatic! So, anybody want to buy my “A B P “ T-shirts? Maybe I should change them to N.B.P. – Nobody But Penske!
It’s always been said Wilbur Shaw and Anton Tony Hulman saved the Speedway. It may be said someday that Roger Penske saved IndyCar racing. I can’t think of anyone better suited than The Captain (and his people). His phoning A. J. and Mario tells me most of what I need to know in a positive way!
Ron Carbaugh, Eaton, Ohio
There is no person better on earth that can continue the stewardship of the iconic IMS. Roger’s heart, knowledge of motor racing and impeccable business savvy will not only benefit IndyCar, but all of motorsports. All his businesses have been extremely community friendly and he has a huge heart for people.
Stephen Janny, Nazareth, Pa.
Thanks for your Penske purchase story. Coming from you, I can accept that this is the best news of the past 50 years in Indy. I believe Penske has always demonstrated due diligence, paid his dues, done his homework, busted his butt to get it right, or however we choose to phrase it: he is a winner, a dedicated hard worker, he builds people up, and sets and maintains exceptional standards. When dampers (shocks) were not adequately developed for superspeedways, he built up a group of over 20 crewmen dedicated to shock development and management.
When teams were foundering in gear-set and final drive ratio selections for Indy, he realized that many teams were trying to find out what ratios his research had led him to use for the upcoming Indy 500, so he ordered and paid for gear sets from Xtrac for 21 (!) different ratio sets and final drive numbers to mask his choice. What’s the point of dragging out that history again? It is validation of his approach, understanding, and commitment. He is not a “checkbook racer,” not a guy that just throws money at issues and problems. He is a problem solver. It’s time for a party.
Rick W., California
I was a CART safety team volunteer for years but I gave up my Indy 500 tix in 1996 (after 21 years) vowing to never come back until T.G. got his personal checkered flag and the Speedway was sold. I never again bought products from IRL sponsors. Economacki/ Speed Sport News; Indianapolis Star subscription for May only; RPM Tonight were all in my rear view mirror. I just consoled myself with my love of F1 since the bloodbath years of the 1960s to the present time. Stewart, Emmo and Hamilton kept me going from era-to-era, but still there was that huge void with no Indy racing sanity in sight. And then, last Monday my 60-year-passion for Indy racing was again restored!
Anyone writing to you with a note of caution or negative response of Roger buying the Speedway or IndyCar is frickin’ crazy. This is the guy who will manage everything as a business, not a sport. There is no other way to approach motorsports to ensure its survival in our world today. In doing so, IndyCar has its only chance to survive. Thank you so very much for your devotion to AOWR/ Indy and best wishes for you personally and professionally as we enter a period of optimism we haven’t had in nearly 25 years.
Patty Anderson, Omaha, Nebraska