Q: They hold the AT&T Pebble Beach golf tournament one week after the Super Bowl in February. Kind of our rainy season, but mild temperatures and no snow. They had one A1GP race where there was actually snow on Mount Toro, but that's rare. We just don't have the bitter cold winters the rest of the country experiences. Would IICS be interested in Feb, March or April in Monterey? After football season but before baseball? People don't believe it, but Sonoma and Laguna are actually green for a short time.
Paul, Carmel, CA
RM: I think Laguna Seca is on Mark Miles' radar for 2015.
Q: Formula 1 continues to thrive and IndyCar continues to struggle. I know it's all about money, but why does F1 always seem to have it?
RM: Because it's got MILLIONS of viewers, huge sponsors, major manufacturers investing millions and countries sponsoring drivers.
Q: I can understand Montoya wanting to come back to IndyCar, but why Andretti Autosport? AA would be a great ride, but why not follow the Franchitti model and come back to Ganassi where he has history? What happened to Michael Shank's "All I need is an engine" interest in IndyCar? Seems like the engines are there now. I like the idea of a cluster of races in Europe in September and October to avoid the NFL and to take advantage of F1 being in Asia, but why should they be non-points races? If you are going to run the races, pay the points. Then come back to the U.S. for one last race at Fontana to end the season. One of the nice things about ending the season at Fontana during the NFL season is that it is close to Los Angeles, the largest city in America to NOT have an NFL team.
John in Charleston
RM: I think Montoya is just testing the waters but Andretti or Ganassi would be logical for him. Same for Kanaan. Shank sold his car to Sam Schmidt.
Q: Good to see the old Mailbag made the transition to Racer. How do you see the rotating drives at Coyne, Panther and BHA shaping up for next year? Which scenarios are all about funding and which are about evaluating drivers?
RM: I think Ryan Briscoe is signed, sealed and delivered at Panther but Coyne and Herta are open for debate, although Bryan really likes Luca Fillippi.
Q: I have a question regarding how the emerging Formula Electric series will impact upon the IndyCar series, particularly as Andretti Autosport and Gil de Ferran have backed the new series. Will there be competition for the same sponsors? How will Andretti Autosport cope with the expansion, will IndyCar drivers participate in Formula E events? Pondering the recent discussions about the IndyCar schedule finishing on Labor Day in 2014, could this be to avoid conflict with the Formula E calendar which begins in September running through to June? Many thanks for your insight, and great to see you with Racer!
Theodor Ensbury, Morecambe, Lancashire, UK
RM: I have no idea if Formula E will get off the ground or how it will impact Andretti's other teams. If he runs six cars full-time in IndyCar and 10 cars at the Indy 500 to go with his six cars in the feeder system, where in the hell will they find room in the shop for Formula E? I suppose in our “green” environment, this series could gather some steam but right now it's way too early to know much. Thanks for reading.
Q: Hi Robin, "The Big C" has kept me out of circulation for the last few years, so I haven't been to the Toronto Indy, or Mosport ALMS races lately, but next year is looking hopeful. I wrote you over three years ago proposing a rolling chassis formula for Indy Car. It's disappointing to me that my idea morphed into an aero package concept. It's not at all what I had in mind! In the same manner that the DeltaWing sports car was made using an Aston Martin tub, what I proposed would have allowed a single seat DeltaWing to be made from a DW12. That of course would be the extreme case. Maybe I don't communicate very well, but to me a rolling chassis comes with wheels and suspension that can always be modified. From what I've seen of the aero package rules, they aren't going to look different enough to make it worthwhile. They should save their money and scrap that idea. Let's face it, Foyt doesn't have the infrastructure to produce any Coyote creation he comes up with in enough quantity for everyone, and he shouldn't have to; let him keep it for himself. But under the current proposal he would be forced to, and I understand the reasoning for that. Other people with Big Money, not to name names, could. Let's hope someone smarter than me comes up with something that saves our beloved racing! To prevent this from being a rant, I will save other subjects for other Mailbags!
Randy Shanklin, London, Ontario, Canada.
RM: Glad to hear you're battling back. As for aero kits, I don't expect anything too radical but you hit the big problem with anything remotely innovative: there's no money out there for IndyCar. And none of the chassis manufacturers seem to want any competition. So get out your Dick Wallen tapes and enjoy the old days.
Q: The Autocourse Official Illustrated History of the Indianapolis 500 is outstanding! I've been anticipating the release of the updated second version but the release date has continually been pushed for well over a year. Can you ask your buddy Donald Davidson if there are plans for the book to be released any time soon? Please don't break my heart and tell me it has been shelved. The Indianapolis 500: The Legacy Series of DVDs is also a must- have for any fan of Indy 500 history. Do you know if there are any plans to do new DVD for the decade of the 2000s?
Scott, Portland OR
RM: I will ask Donald those questions and, yes, it is a great book and he and Rick Shaffer did a nice job. In the meantime, may I suggest going to brickyard.com and buying the 90-minute legends interview with Parnelli, Mario and Dan Gurney? I think you'll like it.