Q: I'm happy to hear in your article about the 2015 schedule that Providence is not only a possibility, but it sounds like it's rather probable at this point. I think the event has the potential to be very well-attended, especially if it gets the planned second weekend in August (the Monday being a state holiday). It sounded like there was some discussion of adding it for 2014, but they decided to play it safe and wait until 2015. However, in the past week we learned that not only is the Baltimore event not returning (though the GM of the RI event seems to forget Pocono when mentioning there's nothing in the east between Toronto and St. Pete), but Lime Rock's two sports car race weekends are unexpectedly being reduced to zero with the USCC electing not to return to Connecticut. Could these two developments prompt them to consider a 2014 date, or is it simply too late for IndyCar and/or the event to fit it in at this point?
Brandon, Cranston, R.I.
RM: Not going to happen before 2015 because Providence says it wants to do it right with sponsorship and promotion and not rush things.
Q: While it is exciting to see Road America and Laguna Seca as potential for 2015, I have to say that Providence is NOT a substitute for Baltimore. Baltimore is a one-hour drive for me, whereas Providence is more like five. Not really an improvement! Any chance of seeing Indy Car at NJMP? Sports cars go there now and it's a central location like Baltimore. I remember about 10 years ago, Champ Car tried to get a race in Philadelphia. Any possibility of a Philly race? Just have to make sure the drivers stay with their cars after a wreck...turn your back too long and the rims will be gone! As a mid-East Coaster, Baltimore was a perfect location. On the other hand, this does give me more reason to get my bum up to Pocono next summer...
Dave Zipf, Newark, Del.
RM: I think we're all bummed about Baltimore because of the passionate fans and the racy layout but Providence seems a much better option than NJMP, from what I'm told. Philly was Paul Newman's baby but finally got shot down by politics, so can't see any chance there.
Q: I'm a Region Rat (Highland, Ind.) and a long time open-wheel fan transplanted to Arizona over 30 years ago. I was fortunate to have the Indy series come to PIR twice a year for nearly 20 years before the Split. Needless to say, the crowds shrank to less than were at the early '90s Formula 1 races in downtown Phoenix before the France family pulled the plug on it. After 31 years of being a season ticket holder at PIR, I gave the tickets back to the track this year since NASCRAP does nothing for me expect give me a headache. What are the chances, if any, of IndyCar making a return to our one-mile dog-legged track in the desert? No interest? Politics?
RM: There was interest last year about bringing IndyCar back in 2014 (the 50th anniversary of PIR) but it seems to have gone away. Love to go back to one of the best ovals in the country but finding a date between NASCAR races seems to be the challenge.
Q: At the risk of again beating a dead horse…if IndyCar wants to finish up by Labor Day then how about scheduling several races in the beginning of the year? Too cold, you say – head southwest young man. The weather out in this part of the country is perfect in the early months of the year. Of course, I realize that I am treading on dangerous ground here by even mentioning that four-letter word “oval” but even if they are opposed to having a race or two at actual racetracks such as Phoenix, then I could also recommend the dreaded street circuit as an option.
Paul in Ariz.
RM: I think Houston, Austin and Phoenix could all be potential season openers.
Q: With the rumors of the 2014 schedule set to end on Labor Day, is there anything IndyCar officials are doing to look into starting the season earlier in the year? I know contractually St. Pete is set to be the season opener, but how about running Surfers Paradise in January and having the Brazil race in February? Then have the U.S. opener in St. Pete like in the years past? This would give fans more on-track action as well as give the teams plenty of time to prepare and ship the cars. I'm guessing the only downfall would be additional costs for team owners and finding a race promoters.
Jay, Speedway, Ind.
RM: I think you've identified what Mark Miles is looking at for 2015. If they could get two or three races in January-February to lead into the opener, that seems to be the desired scenario. But those races would be to generate money for the teams and their expenses would have to be covered so it wouldn't cost the owners anything extra.
Q: According to published reports, Leo Hindery and company made the payment to host the Formula 1 race in N.J., yet the same sources seem to express doubt the race will be on the schedule. Whether or not the F1 race will happen, is there any possibility the IndyCar series could hold an event on the same (do we say "proposed") course? I know there is a history with American open-wheel racing and Mr. Hindery. Are there roadblocks that I'm not aware of? And if I'm the guy who thought of it first, shouldn't I get a free VIP pass?
David Parker, Jersey City, N.J.
RM: It seems to be on-again, off-again with New Jersey and F1 but if the track does ever get started it would make sense to approach IndyCar. Of course you deserve a pass and an autographed picture from New Jersey's own Steve Krisiloff.
Q: With talk of some international races, is there any talk of going back to Japan? I don't hear Japan being mentioned and I enjoyed Twin-Ring Motegi; it was a challenging oval. Is Honda not clamoring to have a race in its home market? If the oval is still damaged from the 2011 earthquake, it would be nice if they could look into racing at either Suzuka or Fuji. Was the time difference a deal-killer for Japan and any other Asian races?
RM: The oval is fine and Honda would probably love to go back but Honda spent a lot of money hosting that race and not sure it's still got a budget for that. Sato was a big draw at Twin-Ring and he would be at Suzuka as well but whether Mark Miles will approach any other tracks in Japan is uncertain. Makes sense, though, if IndyCar goes back down under – make it all one trip.