Q: While the penalty to Dixon at Sonoma was deserved, the NBCSN booth commentators' comments were certainly biased and, in some respects, disrespectful. Townsend's comment that he would not serve the drive-through was very unprofessional. Can you imagine the uproar if Dixon had stayed out on the track and been either black-flagged, which would have cost him more time than a drive-through or disqualified and finished even lower. Comments that the penalty was not deserved are just ridiculous. The rules are clear! The driver is responsible for avoiding items in the pits, be it equipment or crew, and the penalty is black and white in the rulebook. The conspiracy comments are not even worth a comment as a crew member doing that intentionally is just ridiculous.
I have enjoyed the mailbag and glad it is continuing.
Ben Loosli, Oak Ridge, Tenn.
RM: I'm thankful that NBC allows us to voice our opinions and not spew the intelligence-insulting company line like they do in NASCAR telecasts (except Kyle Petty). Wally and Townsend were definitely outspoken but that's refreshing and a lot of fans agreed with them and a lot didn't. True, it might have been nice to mention the rulebook but I thought both sides were represented nicely in last week's pre-race show.
Thanks for reading and participating.
Q: Opinions differ as to whether IndyCar got it right with Dixon at Sonoma. Fine!
Kudos to IndyCar that we do not see the dreaded, “INCIDENT INVOLVING CARS 9 AND 12 TO BE INVESTIGATED AFTER THE RACE. DRIVERS SHOULD NOT GET THEIR FINGERPRINTS OR CHAMPAGNE ON TROPHIES AS THEY MAY NEED TO RELINQUISH WIN ONCE WE FINISH OUR BRIE AND MOET, THEN ACTUALLY MAKE A DECISION” banner seen on many Formula 1 broadcasts. Officials made an informed decision and stuck by it.
Bran Bristo, London, Canada
RM: I agree. Barfield reviewed the tape, made a call in a very reasonable amount of time and stuck with it.
Q: After reading this week's mailbag, I'll add one more thing re: Sonoma. My garage pass got me onto pit lane before the race. I wish every IndyCar fan could get that experience and see that the pit boxes are smaller than they appear when watching on TV. The Dixon incident was a classic racing accident. Racing is very difficult to officiate. You could not pay me enough to be the right-rear tire changer.
You and I have been around long enough to realize how lucky we are no one was seriously injured. That is really the main thing.
RM: It's easily the most dangerous job in IndyCar (besides chief steward) and if the pit boxes were the proper size we wouldn't have had this controversy.
Q: I've been watching Indy cars for 20 years, but just recently started to make it my primary venue for motorsport after attending my first Indy 500 this past May (which was as epic a race as I've ever seen in my life). That said, whenever someone brings up doing the double on Memorial Day, it's always about what NASCAR driver will run an Indy car, but never the other way around. Has anyone on the IndyCar side of things tried looking for a NASCAR ride so they can attempt it, thus bringing some more eyes on the open-wheel side of things? I know sponsorship is the driving factor, but why not have an IndyCar guy run a couple of Nationwide races to get a license for a Cup car and try it one day?
RM: Well, A.J., Rutherford, Mario, Parnelli, Gurney, Hurtubise, Bettenhausen, Johncock, Sneva and the Unsers all competed in the Daytona 500 and Cale Yarborough, Lee Roy Yarbrough, Bobby Johns and the Allison brothers came to the Indy 500 back in the '60s. But I guess it's a lot more prestigious to come try Indy than it would be to go run nine hours at Charlotte. But my vote for the double in 2014 is KYLE LARSON!
Q: Robin, how come on road and street circuits it always goes around to the right, while on ovals it always goes around to the left? And how come at most every local short track, the open-wheeled modifieds are the quickest, most exciting, and most popular racecars over the late model stocks (though stocks are awfully cool too, it's true), while on the bigs it's the stock cars that are more popular than the Indy cars? I don't understand that. And how come in the 1970s it was OK to like NASCAR and IndyCar both, like I STILL do, but now so many NACSAR fans turn their nose up at Indy cars? Just wondering.
Craig Kovach, Manalapan, N.J.
RM: I'll ask Donald Davidson to answer those first two questions but I like your very last question the best. I don't know the answer but you always hear Harvick and Johnson talk about growing up Indy 500 fans. I think there was admiration by race fans for both back in the day, but not anymore for some reason.
Q: I believe the comment you made in the last Mailbag in reference to ruining the race by virtue of the building necessary for the Winter Olympics should read “Vancouver” and not “Edmonton.”
RM: Good catch, Rick, my bad.