Q: I have to say, I am quite surprised at the fan reaction to Scott Dixon's complaints. He is by far one of the kindest and most professional racers in the paddock, so when I hear him complain, I know it has merit especially when I came to the same conclusion watching the replays at Baltimore and Sonoma. Will Power, from Day 1, has been a whiner. From what I can tell, he is not well liked in the paddock and seems to not have the proper mental fortitude necessary to be a champion. So when I read the last mailbag and see that everyone has turned on Dixon for his comments about race control and Power, I can't help but wonder why everyone is cutting Will so much slack.
I mean, this guy's excuse for running into Dixon was that he wasn't even looking in his mirrors. How is that an excuse? It's his job as a racer to know what is going on around him! Why do fans like Will Power? He complains more than anyone, but when Dixon or Franchitti (two champions) have a problem, your mailbag readers turn into angry villagers with pitchforks.
RM: I don't think everyone has turned on Dixon and, you are correct, he's most always a class act in victory or defeat so he's entitled to voice his displeasure in these circumstances. As for Power, sure he can moan with the best of 'em but I've also seen him own up to mistakes in tough situations. He's certainly not Dario's favorite but I don't think he's necessarily unpopular with fellow racers.
Q: Getting really sick and tired of some of the “big stars” whinin', bitchin' and complaining all the time. As long as TGBB took care of TCGR, everything was cool. The people on the scene told Barfield that Dixon's car could not be fixed in time so he made the call. Put your Big Boy Panties on and get over it. Don't want a penalty, don't drive thru someone else's pit and hit the tire man. It seems as though Scott and Dario have graduated from the Andretti School of It's Not My Fault. Went to my first 500 in 1950 at 5 years of age so I've seen most of the best over the years. Too bad A.J. is older than me or there would probably be some “Bitch Slappin'” going on…and it's needed!
John T. Feeser, Wilmington, N.C.
RM: Most people seemed to think TGBB favored his former employer (Penske) over Ganassi and considering what happened to Dixon at Baltimore, how can you fault him for being angry or bitching? He got spun out and then crashed out. Hell yes, he should be mad. As far as taking the blame, I've heard Dario and Dixie admit mistakes on several occasions and certainly more than one retired Indy winner who NEVER owned up to anything. But I do think the bitching has increased in volume this season by a lot of people.
Q: OK I get it: Dixon's p***ed at Barfield and wants him gone. Isn't that the LAST THING the drivers want – fast turnover in the race director's chair? Barnhart was a MISTAKE, that I get, but Beaux seems like he's TRYING (my opinion) to call it as incidents happen, with as much valid information as possible from what means he has in front of him. And now Scott's got a bee in his helmet because of the calls against him in the last races, probably more so for leaving his car on track at Baltimore, and wants Beaux axed. I have to think that's the WORST that can happen, outside of making Derrick Walker the Supreme Commander with all calls and rulings coming from his desk (and I bet he's ducking that chore big time.)
John Corbin, Columbia City, Ind.
RM: I'm a big Beaux fan and I think he's done a lot more good than bad in his two short years. I've yet to hear him get on the radio and yell at drivers to back off and not race so hard. And he hasn't started an oval race in the rain or stolen the Indy 500 from anyone, either. The biggest complaint seems to be his consistency on blocking so I wish he'd clarify that and stick with it. And get off Twitter.
Q: Are you disappointed in the inconsistency of Beaux Barfield's decisions? Drivers are calling for him to be fired. He is in a tough position, as we do not want too much interference with the on-track product. What can be done? We appear to be approaching an NBA mentality were all contact must result in a penalty. This is racing and drivers will see things differently depending on the results, but crying avoidable contact for every instance is a slippery slope. Take the aggression away and we will stop watching. Baltimore was a blast, because of, or in spite of over-zealous drivers going for over aggressive moves.
Mike, Plainfield, Ind.
RM: As I said in the letter above yours, the inconsistency claim seems to be about the blocking rule. As for avoidable contact, it's the worst phrase in racing and impossible to police (was Servia more guilty than Rahal at Baltimore?). But you are correct, that's why people watch and while you don't want anarchy in the streets, contact is part of the game.
Q: I'm a passionate fan of car racing (F1, IndyCar, Rolex Sports Car Series, Le Mans) and I prefer to watch the races on natural road car courses. I find watching IndyCar racing on urban courses is simply terrible due to the fact there are too many incidents that should be avoidable if common sense would be used. I find there is no flow, no proper racing rhythm. So I would like to know what you think about the future of racing on urban courses for the IndyCar Series.
RM: It takes no talent to spin somebody out in a street race but between fading brakes, hot tempers and spec cars, it's impossible to avoid the bump and run. It's the nature of the street race beast and while we all want to go back to Elkhart Lake and Watkins Glen, it's got to make financial sense to go to those tracks. I think IndyCar will always have a large presence on street circuits because right now cities seem to be more interested in these races than traditional road courses and ovals.
Q: I've been thinking about the road race at Indy. I'm not a big fan either, but if it's going to work, it's got to be creative, and it can't crowd out the 500. If Baltimore has to bump out of the Labor Day slot, why not use that slot as the new IMS road course date? I'm sure there's more than one casual fan that associates the 500 with Memorial Day weekend, so why not "own" summer and close out with a weekend double-header on the IMS road course on Labor Day?
And speaking of the double-headers, is there any possibility of reconfiguring run-off areas so double-header tracks can be run in reverse direction for the second race? I can't help but think that would be a fun and cool way to keep the second race fresh. It seems IMS would be a perfect candidate to try it out since they are working on the layout now. Lastly, just to keep tradition in the loop, and something that for sure would grab headlines, how about a three wide standing start? That could be amazing.
Jason "Bananaspeed" Mulveny
RM: Originally Mark Miles talked about ending the season on the IMS road course but he's trying to figure out a way to jumpstart May so that's why it will open the month. Not sure which way the cars will run but there's several plans, or options, being discussed. Three-wide standing start for a road course race? Sure.
Q: I guess I'm the second person who likes the IMS road course (thanks for the support, Graham Rahal). I attended the first Grand-Am race there and thought the racing was quite good. We sat at Road Course Turn 1 (near IndyCar pit in) and had an excellent view of the first half of the track sitting high in the stands. Road course Turn 1 has a massive run off area, so drivers were willing to get aggressive on the brakes and make passes. There was plenty of contact for those who prefer a more physical style of racing. Road course Turns 3 through 6 are wide enough to allow side-by-side racing and multiple lines. I also really enjoyed being able to see more than two corners of the track, which isn't common at most road courses. Although I doubt I'd be able to travel in for a second race in May, I think it would be a decent show.
Kyle in Raleigh, N.C.
RM: The biggest concern in my mind is there are so many seats that have limited views of the track but I guess that's the nature of every street race so maybe it wouldn't matter. I still think 40,000 would exceed expectations but I have no doubt the racing would be good.