Robin Miller’s Mailbag for June 12, presented by Honda Racing / HPD

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 millersmailbag@racer.com. 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. 

Q: Just wanted to point out for all of us die-hards who love to bitch over the last few decades that Texas ended with American drivers P1 through P5. The racing was awesome and it was not a pack race. Amazing performance for an American rookie who could have easily won (Herta). Another solid drive from another American rookie (Ferrucci). Great rivalry brewing between two American drivers who are now veterans and have another decade (at least) of racing against each other (Newgarden and Rossi). And even Marco finished in the top 10!

Clint, Chicago

RM: I was getting ready to interview Graham Rahal on NBCSN after the race and he looked up at the scoring tower and said: “Americans sweep the top 5, when’s the last time we saw that? Very cool.” Well the last time, according to NBC stat guru Russ Thompson, was in the next-to-last IRL race of 2001, when it was Jaques Lazier, Sam Hornish, Eddie Cheever, Jeff Ward and Donnie Beechler. Now Wardy was born in Scotland but grew up in California, so I count him as an American. If you don’t count him as a Yank then it was Gateway the race before, with Al Unser Jr., Mark Dismore, Hornish, Cheever and Robbie Buhl.

Q: Scatter-shooting after attending Saturday’s race: Herta made a fan out of me, having the only stones in the field to use the outside of Turns 1&2. Scratching my head why Rossi didn’t at least try it once versus Newgarden in the late stages? Dixon/Herta was a 50/50 deal, but surprised Dixon conceded the way he did and Herta took little to zero fault for it. Much better race than last year, hope everyone enjoyed it. We need more ovals in the series. Aren’t you glad the FIA doesn’t officiate IndyCar?

Aron Morgan

RM: Herta is something else and was the star of the show, but he and Dixie were racing hard, going for the same spot, and it was avoidable but more of a racing accident than anyone’s fault. Rossi would have tried but never got a good enough run going into Turn 1. That b.s. call in the F1 race made me wish A.J. would have been in Vettel’s place, or at least owned his car. Can you imagine that post-race interview and podium ceremony?

Q: I thought the race at Texas was one of the best of the year. Colton Herta was doing some unbelievable passes until the contact with Dixon. What is it about Texas that seems to make exciting racing more often than not?

John Montgomery, Medford, OR

RM: The corners are a little more open than some 1.5-mile ovals and a second groove is usually possible, but Texas seems to bring out the aggression in drivers when it gets dark. And most seemed to think IndyCar’s aero change made for a good show. It wasn’t non-stop passing like the Hanford Device or stuck together like a pack race, you had to get your car working or take some chances (or both) to make passes.

Q: That was other solid race between Herta and Dixon. No one cut the other off, it was a fair fight. Respect to the two that race insane speeds. So to the point, IndyCar is just insanely good, but what do you think about Herta and Dixon?

Paul Angel

RM: I guess Colton could have backed off or Scott could have moved up, but then that kinda defeats the purpose of going for it, doesn’t it?

Q: Miller you have preached for years IndyCar needs a big rivalry. Right now it looks like Rossi vs. Penske. That’s OK, but I’m starting to see Rossi vs. Newgarden. It is becoming pretty clear that this will be the championship fight. If Penske is not able to steal Rossi, we could have a long-term rivalry. Newgarden impresses me more and more every week. Yes he drives for the best team, but no matter what issues the team is having, he ends up a factor in the end. I had to go back and re-watch the race again just to understand how he pulled out the win. Yes, it was a great call from the team to get him in position to have a chance, but it was his driving and refuse-to-lose attitude that won it.

I think the front-runners really overlooked him since he had not been running with them throughout the entire race. Very impressed with the rookies. Ferrucci with another great run. Herta, wow, Andretti had better go find some money. Ericsson is starting to find his stride. Lastly, a big shout-out to Conor Daly. I’m sure he is not happy with how the car ran, but to take a car that was not fast enough to qualify for the Indy 500 and finish 11th and only one lap down, that’s like a podium finish in my book. As an IndyCar fan, we can’t ask for much more this season. The racing has been great with plenty of storylines to follow!

J.R. Rouse

RM: That’s why it’s imperative that Rossi stays with Andretti, like I wrote last week – don’t break up the balance of power, and IndyCar needs to hope its current Big 3 lineup stays intact. JoeNew is a threat to win any race, and possesses a great temperament in the car that helps if things are rocky at the start. Daly did a marvelous job under the circumstances, while Ferrucci and Ericsson drove smart and smooth for their first test at Texas.

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MILLER: Time to make the IndyCar/NASCAR double-header a reality

It’s not a pipe dream, or a couple of fans fantasizing, or idle chatter on a radio talk show. It’s a bona-fide concept. And a damn good one.

An IndyCar/NASCAR doubleheader is exactly what both series need right now to see if they can restore some life to oval-track racing. Think not? Look at all the empty seats at Bristol, Michigan and Richmond this season for Cup, and last Saturday night’s turnout at Texas for IndyCar.

There is no hiding the fact that the fastest and most exhilarating form of motorsports in this country has lost both its mojo and its box office. Gateway is the only oval in IndyCar to have come along in the past decade that’s managed to draw a good crowd and keep it, while NASCAR’s most impressive turnout is for its road race at Watkins Glen.

Think about that. You can sit anywhere you want at Bristol nowadays for either race, but there’s hardly room to walk, let alone park, at The Glen.

So if nobody shows up for ovals in either camp anymore, what’s the game plan? Keep putting up billboards, printing tickets that don’t get used and hope for a resurgence? Or try something radical? Something, by the way, that your television partner (NBC) thinks is a cool idea.

Sam Flood, the NBC executive producer and president of production, is a fan of the doubleheader concept. From what I’ve been told NASCAR’s Mike Helton is interested, and so is Jeff Behnke, NASCAR’s VP of production for NBC. IndyCar’s Jay Frye has been pushing the idea for a couple years, and it’s his NASCAR connections that have opened people’s minds.

That’s a lot of heavyweights, and NBC spends a lot of money trying to get people interested in motorsports, so maybe both sanctioning bodies should take this seriously.

What are the pitfalls? Well, somebody has to go first, but hell, that’s not a hurdle, that’s a no-brainer. IndyCar runs on a Saturday night under the lights, and NASCAR takes the spotlight on Sunday afternoon.

Where is the best place to pull it off? What track is best suited for a non-stop weekend of action and willing to do it? Even if means changing their date?

Don’t tell me the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, that’s a terrible idea if for no other reason than we’ve already got two IndyCar races, and the Brickyard 400 is hardly a showcase for stock cars.

Kentucky, Chicago, Fontana, Charlotte or Richmond could probably work, but what about Gateway? Curtis Francois and Chris Blair do everything gung-ho and they’ve got the best title sponsor in IndyCar, John Bommarito, in their corner. The obvious pitfall is that Cup doesn’t run there yet – just the Truck series.

So an obvious choice would be Texas Motor Speedway.

“It takes all four parties, IndyCar, NASCAR, NBC and the track, and I like the idea,” said Eddie Gossage president of TMS over the weekend. “We’re interested if they’re interested, and I think it would help both series.”

Gossage already has a super ticket in mind. “How about a World of Outlaws show on Thursday or Friday night, Robby Gordon’s trucks, Legends cars, USAC quarter midgets and then cap everything off with IndyCar under the lights and Cup the next day? I think it could be huge.”

‘Huge’ is a relative term these days, but if Texas filled half its 112,000 permanent seats for IndyCar, that would be a great start. In the early IRL era there were 75,000-100,000 fans, but now IndyCar appears to struggle to draw 25,000, and the NASCAR turnout last March at TMS looked like one of the lowest in recent memory, so that could use a boost as well. Gossage would also entertain moving his traditional June IndyCar date to accommodate the NASCAR show.

Obviously, the hook for NBC is that it televises the entire NTT IndyCar Series and half of the NASCAR schedule, so if it did the double, it could televise two races for the price of one, more or less. But only if it could fall in the second half of the NASCAR season, since FOX has the first half.

Of course the slam-dunk promotion would be to have some of your biggest stars trading rides.

The natural double drivers would come from Team Penske and Chip Ganassi since both field cars in IndyCar and NASCAR. Will Power said on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s podcast he’d love to drive a Cup car, and Josef Newgarden echoed that thought last weekend. Not sure if Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski would be up for 215 mph at Texas for 250 laps, but maybe they’d try something tamer like Gateway.

Kurt Busch did a fine job at Indy back in 2013 and Ganassi teammate Kyle Larson belongs in an IndyCar so that’s an easy swap, while IndyCar’s gold standard, Scott Dixon, deserves to get a chance to branch out and try a tin-top.

Texas has the size to easily accommodate both paddocks, and after 31 IndyCar races Gossage needs a fresh angle besides good racing on his high-banked oval. If Richmond gets back on the IndyCar schedule for 2020 then maybe a 2021 twin bill could be possible, and all Gateway needs is a Cup race to pursue a doubleheader.

I can hear all the “experts” already weighing in about why this won’t work because IndyCars are much faster and NASCAR won’t go along with it, but the bottom line is that both series could help each other and draw some national media attention, as well as more eyeballs and maybe a big sponsor.

If it doesn’t work, so be it. But why not try? What would either side be afraid of? Empty seats?

 

Rossi’s Texas green no threat to Herta’s backing

When Alexander Rossi showed up at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend with GESS and Capstone sponsorship displayed all over the side of his Andretti Autosport Honda, fans of Colton Herta and Harding Steinbrenner Racing feared the worst.

GESS had come on board with Herta after the 18-year-old became the youngest winner in IndyCar history at COTA last March; but what did this mean? Was the bio gas company from North Carolina switching its allegiance halfway through the NTT IndyCar season?

As it turns out, no: GESS (and Capstone) will be with Herta through the remainder of the 2019 season, just as they’d agreed back in May.

A story by the Associated Press out of Texas noted that GESS had confirmed its deal for the remainder of 2019.

“ was really just an affirmation of what GESS had committed last May, so there was no press release or anything or nothing new; I just spoke to AP about our situation,” said Brian Barnhart, the president of Harding Steinbrenner Racing. “It allows us to breathe a little easier.”

Sean Lee, the CEO of GESS, sponsored Pato O’Ward at Long Beach and Rossi at Texas (and will again at Pocono in August) to spread the wealth, so to speak, and to promote IndyCar.

“He’s focused on Colton,” continued Barnhart, “but it was actually kinda cool we were able to deliver something nice to Michael Andretti for all the help they’ve given us.”

Andretti is Harding Steinbrenner’s technical partner.

Capstone is a turbine corporation that does business with GESS. Its name will also will be on Hertas’s car the final eight races.

Rookies steal the spotlight in Texas

IndyCar’s rookie class of 2019 continued to show their talents Saturday night at Texas where Santino Ferrucci and Marcus Ericsson finished fourth and seventh respectively in their debut on the daunting 1.5-mile oval.

Ferrucci, who won Rookie of the Year at Indianapolis in his oval debut with a seventh place, charged from 18th to take fourth in Dale Coyne’s Cly-Del Honda.

“For someone who had no experience on ovals, I’m starting to say I love them,” said the 21-year-old Connecticut native. “I’m happy with a fourth place. After Indy, knowing what kind of car we had, how hard our crew has been working and how much power we have from Honda as well, I knew we could do something special here, regardless of what happened in qualifying, and we did.”

Third-placed Graham Rahal paid a compliment.

“Ferrucci did a good job, drove a smart race and was fun to race with,” he said.

He moved into 12th place by lap 100 then, after falling back to 13th, stormed top to seventh by lap 219. On the final restart with 12 laps remaining he was fifth, and then passed Ryan Hunter-Reay for fourth.

“I can’t thank my crew enough,” said Ferrucci, who is now the highest-placed rookie in the points. “We had a stellar crew in the pits, they did fantastic stops, and we just made our way to the front while avoiding a couple of incidents in front of us.

“I can’t thank my spotter Pancho (Carter) enough to get me to push my limits in the car, coaching me throughout the race. To bring home a top five, my first one in the IndyCar Series, feels pretty good. Michael Cannon (engineer) gave me a good car to drive all night.”

Coming off his initial podium at Detroit, Ericsson started 14th in the Arrow SPM Honda and steadily worked his way up the order while driving a smart race.

“Starting from 14th today was not the best starting position,” said the 28-year-old Swede. ” I was trying to be patient out there and just sort of focusing on each car in front of us, one after the other, and moving our way up through the field. I think we did a good job there. The Arrow car was very consistent throughout the whole race, and that made me feel confident. The Arrow guys had great pit stops and we had a good strategy.

“We had some bad luck with the yellow flags at the end, but fortunately we had some fuel there to push to the end. I’m still super-happy and proud of P7 at my first Texas Motor Speedway race. My first goal coming into the weekend was to finish the race. My second goal was to get a top 10, so to be seventh is a great result.”

No laps in the lead, but Herta stole the show

Colton Herta walked out of the infield hospital on Saturday night and watched the final 12 laps on the NBC camera that was waiting to interview him.

“Man, that was some good racing out there tonight,” he exclaimed.

Oh yes it was, and Herta was the main reason.

The 19-year-old American never led a lap of the DXC Technology 600, but he stole the show with his outside passes and daring driving before being knocked out trying to pass Scott Dixon for second place on Lap 229.

And the way he was chewing up people he very easily could have won his second race of the year.

“I don’t think there was any doubt about it. Colton was going to win,” said George Michael Steinbrenner, co-owner of the Harding/Steinbrenner team. “He is something else.”

The youngest winner in IndyCar history (he was 18 last March when he triumphed at COTA) looked like Alex Rossi as he carved through traffic, and was one of the few able to pass on the outside in his GESS Honda, looked every bit a seasoned veteran instead of a teenager making his debut at the ultra-fast Texas Speedway.

“It was fun while is lasted and I had a great car,” said the second-generation driver from California who also made a couple of great saves during the evening. “I thought it was good stuff because it wasn’t pack racing but it was good, hard racing, and you had to be handling to make passes.

“I’m really happy with how the car was. The GESS Capstone car all the boys did an amazing job. Big congrats to IndyCar for bringing the updates to the front wing and the new tires because it made the racing a hell of a lot better.

“We’ll keep trucking. This is a DNF that I’ll take because I was really happy with my performance.”

The deciding point of his race came as he was trying to get past five-time IndyCar champion and three-time Texas winner, Scott Dixon. Herta got a great run coming off Turn 2 and then dove to the inside. Dixon, one of the cleanest drivers on record, moved Herta down the track, under the white line, and they touched as they flew into Turn 3 at 220 mph.

They both spun into the wall. Later, Dixon took the blame.

“I just heard them saying the other car was looking inside and I started to track down to try and close it off,” explained Dixie. “It was toward the end of the race. As I was doing that and looking down, I could still see his shadow there on the apron and I knew it wasn’t going to work out there.

“Sorry if that was my fault. I was just really pushing and trying to get the most out of it toward the end of the race in the PNC Bank car.”

Herta accepted an apology from the ever-classy Dixon.

“ apologized and that’s what it seemed like from my point of view. I seen a replay yet or anything, but he just turned down on me from my point of view. I was there and he put me on the apron. I was more than enough ahead. He didn’t need to do it. That outside lane was there, and he could have run the outside. He must not have known .”

Maybe not, but everyone in the grandstand knew No. 88 was worth the price of admission.

Robin Miller’s Mailbag for June 5, presented by Honda Racing/HPD

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 millersmailbag@racer.com. 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. 

Q: Another good broadcast by NBC, if you ignore losing the feed. A toast to the director who made the call to go to the in-car camera of Marco Andretti on Saturday after he switched to slicks. That drive had us all on the edge of our seats. People can dog on Marco all they want, but he kept it out of the wall in really tough conditions, which can’t be said of other drivers in dry conditions.

Watching on Sunday, I was happy for Ericsson and the ASPM Team. It led me to think about the performance of the rookies. When you look at the rookie class this year and the equipment they have, I think it really highlights how special Robert Wickens is and the performances he put on last year. What are your thoughts on this year’s rookie class and their performance to date?

John Balestrieri

RM: Like I said in Monday’s column, this rookie class may not rival 1965 (or 1963, which was also stellar) but it’s the youngest, fastest and most promising in a long time. Just look at Ferrucci lately. He and engineer Mike Cannon have obviously clicked and he’s giving Dale Coyne a great ride. I told Juan Pablo Montoya that Pato reminded me of a young JPM, and Colton’s collective cool and savvy is hard to fathom for 19 years old. Felix and Marcus have a lot of experience, but the battle for rookie of the year is shaping up to be a dandy.

Q: I often wonder why they don’t do an oval race the weekend after the Indy 500. I like street courses and road courses, but they can be a bit boring in my opinion. Weren’t IndyCars originally designed to be race cars on oval tracks? Do you see them changing what track they race at on the weekend after the Indy 500 in the future?

Erynn C.

RM: I beat that drum for several years to no avail. Yes, IndyCar should be on an oval right after Indy because you’ve got the momentum of “must-see TV” and a street race just doesn’t keep people engaged. It’s great that Chevy has a home race and R.P. has made Belle Isle a real event, but flipping Texas and Detroit would be my druthers. But, no, it’s not going to happen anytime soon.

Q: So 200 points have been awarded in the last eight days. Who have you got for the title, Miller? I’ll take Newgarden. I loved you putting the question to Roger about a fourth car for Rossi on the NBCSN qualifying show. I know you’re a betting man, so what’s your bet on where Rossi draws his paycheck in 2020?

Ryan Terpstra

RM: I picked Rossi to take the title before the season, and I’m saying he stays at Andretti with Honda and engineer Jeremy Milless.

Q: Why did IndyCar agree to a 75-minute timed race with the engines firing at 3:55pm CST if they knew the NBC TV window ended at 5:00pm CST? If they knew they would have to switch channels because 75 minutes would go beyond the TV window and a channel change to CNBC would be required, why not run the full race distance? Would the fans of Undercover Boss reruns be more upset than IndyCar fans? I think the Belle Isle circuit puts on an entertaining street race, but as good as race two was, I feel equally confused by race one.

Jim Sarow, Whitefish Bay, WI

RM: The weather obviously played havoc with everything and the lightning kept forcing 30 minute delays in any decision, so IndyCar and NBC simply tried to out-guess Mother Nature.

Q: Why was there no pack-up that caused Marco Andretti to drop to 20th? Marco should have cycled to the lead since he pitted for dry tires before the rest of the field. Townsend Bell said on the broadcast the field should have been packed up to prevent cars going too fast under a yellow flag. Why the change in procedure?

Rob Peterson, Rochester, NY

RM: Statement from IndyCar: Race control was reviewing data and closing rates and based off the information the pack-up was developing. The goal was to get the pits open as quickly as possible for the competitors and fans, but given the circumstances that included cars on different tires and a cold track, it did not occur as expediently as was envisioned.”

Q: At the risk of sounding like an old-fashioned grump, as much as the end of the first race this weekend was fun to watch, I was annoyed that Tim Cindric was able to tell JoNew what Rossi was doing with his push-to-pass. It’s a great addition to be able to use tactically and is much better than F1’s DRS. But if the team has the information on what the others are doing, then the drivers don’t have to do anything but push it when the team tells them to do, and you may as well not bother with the concept. Also, surely such coaching pisses the drivers off?

Jordan, Warwickshire, UK

RM: I agree, and I wish IndyCar would go back to not giving out that information because it defeats the purpose of push-to-pass. I’m sure it pisses off the drivers – just like you viewers.

Q: Why no penalty for Sato when he lost it and crashed O’Ward in Race 1? Same question for Newgarden spinning in front of Hinch and Rossi in Race 2? I understand neither was intentional, and Newgarden came out the worst for his error, but Sato benefited from his and it really hurt O’Ward. Seems as if Race Control is afraid to pull the trigger.

Rick, Marengo, Ohio

RM: I think both were simply racing incidents. Sato slid in wet conditions and used Pato as a buffer from the wall, but it wasn’t intentional. Josef’s penalty was fairly obvious since he was out of the race, but again, it was aggressive driving and going for it and paid the price.

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MILLER: Random thoughts from a busy few weeks

Likes, dislikes, news, rumors and some fast takeaways from the last few weeks:

The rookie class of 1965 was pure gold with Mario Andretti , Gordon Johncock, Al Unser, Joe Leonard, Billy Foster, George Snider, Sammy Sessions and Carl Williams, and with three future Indy 500 winners, it will likely never be topped. But this year’s lineup of talented kids continues to impress. Santino Ferrucci, fresh off his seventh place at Indy and ROY honors, led 19 laps at Detroit and was on his way to another good result when he got caught out by a yellow flag. Marcus Ericsson earned the first podium of his IndyCar career with a splendid drive in race two, and Felix Rosenvquist finished fourth in Saturday’s show. Colton Herta, stung by four straight DNFs, bounced back to qualify fourth and fifth, and Pato O’Ward probably passed the most cars of the weekend as he overcame an untimely yellow, a long pit stop, being squeezed into the wall Saturday, and then crashed on the opening lap Sunday, only to roar back and take 11th in the finale.
Not going to print my annual rant about the pathetic purse at Indianapolis where a third of the field made $200,000 and change, but let this number sink it: Eldora Speedway is paying $175,000 to win the 36th annual King’s Royal in July. That’s 50 laps on a half-mile dirt track in front of 20,000 spectators. That should be embarrassing to IMS, which raised all the ticket prices this year and has had the same purse for a decade.
It’s great to have IMSA and IndyCar share a weekend, but it should happen more often than just Long Beach and Detroit. Mid-Ohio, Road America, Portland and Laguna Seca would be great additions, and would help both sides. There was a good turnout on Saturday for IMSA, and a lot of the fans enjoy both series.
Trevor Carlin suffered through what he called “the worst month of my career” at Indy, but the respected car owner vows to try and keep O’Ward despite the expected competition from Red Bull. “I’m working on it,” said Carlin over the weekend.

Always refreshing to hear a champion owning up to a mistake. Points leader Josef Newgarden, who won Saturday’s race, was trying to pass James Hinchcliffe and stay ahead of Alexander Rossi when he lost it going into Turn 3 in Sunday’s race. “(James Hinchcliffe) checked me up and I had to go down a gear, and then we were in a bad situation with (Alexander) Rossi behind us,” he said. “I can’t blame anyone. It’s my fault. It’s ultimately my fault with the way this happened. I thought (Hinchcliffe) didn’t have to come straight across the track and I got held up. It’s still my fault; I should have made a better decision there. Obviously, it’s not the right thing that I did, and that’s on me.”
I despise single-file starts like Saturday’s. It screws the fans (just like counting yellow laps to start a race) and the track was treacherous but not impassable. This group of drivers has been racing hard and pretty damn clean for the past couple years and they’ve got a throttle and a brake, so let them race.
Felix Rosenqvist is fast and has a great future, but he’s got to quit crashing because Chip isn’t known for his patience.

Watching Zach Veach’s in-car camera during qualifying at Detroit was as good as watching Marco Andretti’s wild ride on slicks in the rain.
My other annual Soapbox Sermon is the schedule. Indy GP, Indy qualifying, Indy 500, Detroit doubleheader, Texas and then a test at Elkhart Lake. Ludicrous, and brutal for the mechanics. IndyCar needs to give the teams a break after May.
Lots of complaints about the first 100 laps of Indy being processional and not very exciting because everyone is saving fuel. So a very smart racing man I know has an idea to try and remedy that: incentives. Pay $50,000 to lead lap 50, $100,000 to lead lap 100 and $150,000 to lead lap 150. Get sponsors for all three and promote it.
Michael Andretti on Rossi’s future: “He wants to be here and we certainly want to keep him. I’ve just got to find the money.” Methinks Honda will help.
I asked Roger Penske during our qualifying show on NBCSN if there was any chance of moving Belle Isle back a week to give the teams a little breather, but it didn’t sound like that was an option.
Pretty cool to see the elation in Marcus Ericsson’s face after his first IndyCar podium, and it’s easy to see he made a good decision to come to America.
The Captain did confirm four cars in 2020. “For Indianapolis,” he said.
Speaking of Indy, Andretti would welcome Fernando Alonso back if they can get Honda of Japan to bury the hatchet.
How about The Menard’s Indy 500? After four decades of trying, John Menard finally made it to Victory Lane with Simon Pagenaud and Team Penske, so why not ask the billionaire who loves IndyCars to become the title sponsor? Have him throw in $10 million and it goes directly into the purse. A five-year deal. Trust me, he wouldn’t miss it, and he’d be a hero to all of open-wheel. Save Big Money and Give It To Indy at Menards.
A lot of people want Rossi to go to Penske, but why? We need to keep the balance of power – Dixie at Ganassi, Rossi and RHR at Andretti and Willy P., JoNew and Simon at Penske. But I’ll bet The Captain has his eye on O’Ward or Herta. How about a Rick Mears-type deal to get started next year?
A former NASCAR official accused IndyCar of “manufacturing” the outcome at Indy because it used the red flag after the Lap 178 crash. That’s almost too funny to comprehend.
Best crowd I’ve ever seen at Detroit. If there are still 20,000 seats and if all those chalets were full, it was north of 30,000.
After Dixie crashed on Saturday, our stat guru Russ Thompson figured out the last time the five-time IndyCar champ did that on his own was 2014. That’s almost as astounding as this: in 311 starts, the Kiwi has only had 25 accidents total (and most of those weren’t his fault). Oh yeah, if you hadn’t noticed, Sir Scott is pretty good at bouncing back from a rare bad day.