Q: How long until the Andretti team switches to Honda? It's 9-9 engine victory-wise headed to Fontana and another interesting part of it is three smaller teams have won with Honda and TK winning Indy is the only small Chevy team to have done so! I think it could work out really well if AA made the switch because you know Honda is going to be very motivated by the Chip defection. Plus, the best years of the IRL was when Penske and Chip were stuck with the Toyota. I don't think it will be like that with Chevy but I'm thinking Honda could be the engine to have next year.
RM: Logic says Michael would rather be the big dog with Honda than a mutt with Chevrolet and I imagine he'll make that jump. But, with or without him, Honda will be extra motivated to beat Ganassi.
Q: I know the majority of your questions have to deal with IndyCar but what is the possibility the New Jersey F1 race will actually take place in 2014? Between the F1 teams' objection to a 22-race schedule and getting the permits & course ready for the race, it seems like there could be another cancellation like this year, even though the race is on the 2014 tentative schedule. Also, do you think that IndyCar would ever be interested in running on the undercard Saturday to F1 if the race takes place? That would definitely be a great east coast replacement for Baltimore and much needed awareness/visibility in NYC.
Jerry, Royal Oak, MI
RM: I'm almost certain IndyCar would relish a double-header with F1 but I don't think Bernie Baby wants (or needs) any part of it. And the promoter pays big bucks to get F1 so I would think IndyCar's best chance (like at Austin) is a standalone or twin bill with sports cars.
Q: I'm such an old follower of OWR that I used to listen to the radio broadcasts of the 500 in the 1950s! If the IMS folks need a name for the two events at the Speedway in May how about "TWINDY"?
RM: I like it a lot better than “I Am Indy.”
Q: Have the start issues so far been driver error, or software/technology related? I know the standing starts have been criticized as a bit of a circus, but please tell us that IndyCar is going to keep them going for all street courses and road courses from 2014 on. The TV coverage of the starts at Houston were much better than Toronto, but the in-car replays are what really shows how exciting they are. Speaking of which, in-car footage is incredibly underutilized. The video "in-car theater" segments on Racer.com from Houston were fantastic. It really accentuates the feeling of speed and shows the intensity of the racing. Overall the NBCSN coverage is pretty good, but there needs to be much more in-car footage (live AND replay) to showcase IndyCar's strengths.
Scott B., Gainesville, FL
RM: Yes, that's what I was told regarding standing starts and it seems crazy since Champ Car didn't have those issues in 2007. But those were all Cosworth engines with the same software so maybe that's why. But it needs to be fixed because SSs aren't going away in 2014.
Q: Can you discuss Hinchcliffe's success in the GoDaddy car as compared to Danica's overall lack of success? Did they both have the same equipment, thus is it all driver skill or were there other things that had an impact on each drivers' results?
Rick, Victoria TX
RM: The equipment was the same but I think Hinch is better with chassis setup and a lot more aggressive. Danica excelled at Indy and most big, fast ovals but struggled with the physicality of road racing. Unlike Simona. And Hinch turned out to be a sleeper.
Q: What is it going to take to have a driver like Justin Wilson be picked up by a top team? He has shown what he is capable of with Dale Coyne's team, yet when Penske has an opening they go with a driver that has never even been in the new car. Do you think there is a chance that Franchitti will retire after the accident and Justin could end up at Ganassi?
Chuck, Stow, OH
RM: It's going to take myself and Steve Shunck winning PowerBall because we will start a 3-car Indy team with JWil, S-E-R-V-I-A and Kyle Larson (whose contract I will buy from Ganassi). I've always been perplexed why The Captain never gave Justin a shot but I don't think Dario is retiring and, if he did, I imagine Hinch would get The Call from Chip.
Q: What's your opinion of Takuma Sato as a driver? Is he too aggressive for his own good? I admire his aggression but I have some friends and family members calling for his removal from IndyCar. There's the last-lap wreck in the 2012 Indy 500, hitting RHR in pit lane at Pocono, and other incidents. Finally, there's the last-lap crash with Dario in Houston, which I thought was Dario's fault. What do you think?
Jeff Lowry, Speedway, Ind.
RM: Well, first off, it wasn't Dario's fault. Sato got sideways as Franchitti was pulling around to pass him and became the victim. As for Taku, he was always fast in F1 but crashed a lot and that was pretty much his M.O. here until this season when he got with Don Halliday and the Foyts. He finally won and seemed much calmer but, lately, seems to have regressed to some old habits. He's brave and fast and a nice guy – but seems to lose focus.