Q: I don't see why it's such a good idea to have a short season because that means that IndyCar is invisible for six months. I understand it's hard to compete with the NFL, but so what? Baseball, basketball, hockey, F1 and NASCAR do it. It's time IndyCar stops thinking it's going to be easy to get the fans back with a couple of easy fixes. I live between Sonoma Raceway and Laguna Seca. I have seen several billboards along the freeways for the Superbike race in September at Laguna; guess how many I've seen for the Indy Car race this month? ZERO.
Ralph (auto racing fan since the '70s)
RM: I agree but I think after 2014 there's a plan in the works to lengthen the season considerably. The Sonoma crowd has improved over the past couple years but it's still woefully small compared to NASCAR, so IndyCar needs more marketing, among other things.
Q: I understand IndyCar not wanting to go head-to-head with the NFL, but what is keeping them from racing in Europe in September/October while F1 heads to Asia? They could show the races live on TV on Sunday mornings before NFL games. With IndyCar drivers from Italy, Germany, and France it seems like a good idea to have races in those countries (Imola, Lausitz, Magny-Cours) and then finish off the season at Surfers Paradise. Any thoughts other than it all coming down to money?
Chris, Phoenix, Ariz.
RM: I think Mark Miles and Derrick Walker are considering a non-points cluster of races following the regular season in 2015. Of course, the key is to actually get the big money you are promised – something CART learned isn't always easy.
Q: We all have a dream schedule in our heads for IndyCar but all of these folks that are complaining about 2014 need to understand these things just don't happen overnight. There are millions of dollars at stake and it takes time to try to make an event a win-win situation for all of the parties involved. I'll be an IndyCar fan as long as they can keep the doors open (and I'm in that young age demo they covet so much) and do my best to support the series and watch every race. Living in Rochester, Minn., I look forward to the not-too-distant future when I'll be able to attend Iowa, Milwaukee, and Road America within a single-day drive.
That being said, YOU CANNOT HAVE A RACE IN HOUSTON IN AUGUST. I grew up in Houston and without fail it will be 95+ degrees and extremely humid almost every single day from June through mid-September. Who in their right mind would pay to sit on metal bleachers in that weather? If Mr. Miles is looking to start the season earlier, move the Houston race to February, March, or April and it will be great. After that, you're begging for failure.
RM: I think Houston in the spring would be perfect but it won't happen until at least 2015, if at all. I know Mike Lanigan is wary of having his double-header in college and pro football season so August will at least be better (or should be) next year.
Q: Why do so few IndyCar stars and teams support the lower levels of the sport? The NASCAR Nationwide and Trucks series are so healthy with entries owned by Sprint Cup teams and drivers. Tony Stewart is in a class by himself with all he does, but guys like Clint Bowyer own late-model teams. In IndyCar, Michael Andretti is the only driver/team owner to really embrace the ladder. Is it because IndyCar only wants 22 cars on the grid rather than 43 like NASCAR has, and thus doesn't want or need a better driver pipeline?
Lee Robie, Cincinnati, Ohio
RM: First of all, the highest paid driver in IndyCar probably ranks behind 20 NASCAR regulars, so an IndyCar driver owning another team is a pipe dream. IndyCar tried to entice its owners to participate in Indy Lights by granting them more test days but Michael and Bryan Herta were the only takers. Sam Schmidt has kept the Lights series afloat with his multi-car team but, short of writing it into the rulebook, there is no way to make an IndyCar owner support the feeder system.
Q: Why don't any IndyCar teams try to get Scott Speed or any motorcycle racers to try out for any IndyCar rides? Why don't IndyCar have a week-long try out for all drivers that IndyCar invites to a track and have them all try out in a big open test day for new talent? Have them all timed and stream it on their website. Maybe have a prize for the top driver. That way, everyone gets a chance in a equally prepared cars. It's also a good chance for the team to try out new engineers.
Joseph N. Lawson
RM: Can't say for sure other than it appears Speed wants to stay in NASCAR to try and make a living. The only shootout I can recall was after the 1996 season when Tony Bettenhausen tried out Allan McNish, Patrick Carpentier, Jorg Muller and Tom Kristensen for his CART team. Carpentier won the ride for 1997. Hell, I just remembered that Jeff Krosnoff and Alex Zanardi had a test for Ganassi's seat for 1996 and Zanardi got the nod.
Q: Is there any chance that we'll see at least one additional standing start this season? Perhaps at Baltimore, for example or even make both Houston races start this way. It would give the drivers more practice and help towards having more of them in 2014. Race 2 in Toronto went off without a hitch (Ed Carpenter's stall aside), so why not add some more?
Graeme Watson, Brentwood, Essex, UK.
RM: Definitely one of the Houston races but that's it for 2013.
Q: I've been very happy with Derrick Walker and what he's doing – except – I read that he likes the idea of green-white-checker finishes! Apparently he thinks Indy would have been a better show had it finished under the green. It's the Indy 500! It doesn't need NASCAR gimmicks to be exciting. Also, should I be planning to buy tickets for Road America next year?
Wally, Eden Prairie, Minn.
RM: If the race had finished under green it would have been amazing, given that everybody was saving it for the end. Derrick isn't trying to change history, just thinks it would have been a slam-bang finish for the paying customers. Road America? Probably next year but hopefully 2015.
Q: Looks like you will be writing a lot more articles at your new home. Good! Any behind the scenes rumblings about driver changes for 2014? Kanaan? Hinch? Dinger? Swiss Miss?
John T. Feeser
RM: Hinch is the big domino. If he leaves Andretti for Ganassi's fourth seat then it opens up the possibility for Montoya or maybe Kanaan, who is still talking to KV Racing and Panther. I think Allmendinger is leaning toward NASCAR and not sure about Simona's contract.
Q: Something that has always bugged me about IRL/CART. In the sports pages across the country, the day after the race, why don't the results of the race include the amount of prize money each driver makes? NASCAR does it, golf does it. What's your take on this?
Tim Rockwood, Palm Springs, Calif.
RM: It's too embarrassing. The driver in 45th place in NASCAR Sprint Cup will earn more money than the IndyCar champion because the IndyCar purses are pathetic. CART finally stopped it many years ago and IndyCar thankfully followed suit.