Q: I attended the Baltimore GP for the past two years and had reserved seats for both Saturday and Sunday races. However, for the inaugural race, I spent the entire day Saturday standing right against the fence at different turns admiring the amazing views from such a close and unique perspective. Last year, when Andretti was the promoter, almost all viewpoints of the track and turns from the ground level were covered by sponsor banners on the fences. Many of the banners were just blacked out with no writing or sponsor on them. Is this normal at street races? It is a shame they took away so many great views, especially for new fans that may only buy a general admission ticket.
RM: Not sure because I don't pay enough attention to those things but I'll ask Kevin Healy, the man in charge of Baltimore for Andretti Promotions. Some tracks do that to prevent “free admission” from gawkers, I suppose, but you say this is inside. I've never seen very many good seats at a street race but walking around Long Beach in the old days was about as good as it got.
Q: My question is regarding Sao Paulo race for next year. In the last few weeks, we saw some reports that Rede Bandeirantes (Brazilian broadcaster for IndyCar and Sao Paulo race promoter with Sao Paulo prefecture) is facing some financial issues and wants to cut costs and this could affect Sao Paulo Indy 300 next year, but all the information is unclear. And with the latest news that a road race at IMS could be held in the “Sao Paulo slot” (early May) makes the Brazilian fans nervous. We know that IndyCar has a contract with Sao Paulo until 2019, but contracts are meant to be broken, so how's the situation for Sao Paulo race next year?
Renato Tonini, Sao Paulo, Brazil
RM: I think the main concern for IndyCar is finding a new date in Brazil because the racing is great and the crowd looks good. Stay tuned.
Q: I don't quite know how to express to you what a poor idea it is to race in Houston in August. Two years ago, 30 days were over 100 degrees in August, our hottest month. And this is not like Dallas: the wind does not exist in August here, no breeze, minimum 70 percent humidity…Hell does not even begin to explain how brutally hot it is, there is no way I would sit in bleachers in August to attend a race 10 minutes from my house.
John Cassis, Houston, Texas
RM: Thanks John and let me assure you that A.J. and his crew have already informed of this – loudly! All I know is that Shell is the title sponsor for the race and its golf tourney is held in the spring, which would be the ideal time for the race. Ain't gonna happen. With the season ending on Labor Day, August is about the only option for 2014.
Q: It amazes me that IndyCar hasn't taken some kind of an active role to at least check the viability of running a race in the Pacific Northwest. There is a HUGE untapped market up here now that the Portland and Vancouver races have gone away. Is IndyCar even interested or is it going to take a serious promoter and sponsorship money to get the series to make a return. I think it is sad for all of us fans in Portland, Seattle and Vancouver that the closest race is in California. Would series officials ever consider contacting someone like Bruce McCaw to see if he would be interested in making a return to the series as a race promoter? Help all of us folks in Western Canada, Washington, Oregon and Idaho, Robin: we need a race!
RM: Randy Bernard got some interest from Portland last year but I haven't heard anything since and “the track needs a lot of work” is what I was told. (True?). We loved Edmonton but the Winter Olympics ruined that track and I hear Calgary may build a race track. Saw Bruce last weekend and told him we needed him back in IndyCar and he said he missed it, but…