The RACER Mailbag, June 12

Welcome to the RACER Mailbag. Questions for any of RACER’s writers can be sent to We love hearing your comments and opinions, but letters that include a question are more likely to be published. Questions received after 3pm ET each Monday will appear the following week.

Q: I never need to see another race at the Detroit street circuit ever again. The person who came up with the idea to replace Belle Isle with that monstrosity needs to find a new line of work. It has all of the pitfalls of Monaco and none of the charm.

If you were designing a track with the intention of producing a race with an even split between green flag and caution laps, what would you change? I’m straining to think of anything.

I can’t think of a worse (or more predictable) way to lose any potential ratings momentum from one of the greatest Indy 500s in history than what we saw in Detroit.

Andrew, northern Virginia

MARSHALL PRUETT: I hope this layout isn’t what greets the series seven days after the next Indy 500. It did have 600,000 people who watched on USA, which is tons better than the 300,000 who watched Long Beach on USA.


Q: Dear IndyCar,

There are lots of complaints in the Mailbag. I’ve got quite a few in mind right now related to Detroit and things that happened after Detroit, but that’s not what this is about. Things aren’t all bad and the sky is not falling.

I’m in my 40s and I have an 11-year-old son. He made his first trip to IMS for the Grand Prix weekend seven years ago. I think mostly he just liked seeing the cars. I don’t think we were able to stay even for the IndyCar race before he wanted to go home. He enjoyed rolling up and down the spectator mounds that day between races. He’s been to Detroit (the Stadium Super Truck series was his favorite and he got to sit in one of the trucks), Mid-Ohio, Iowa, and IMS for the 500. Why waste so much space in the Mailbag telling you these things? I’m obviously a big fan and I’ve dragged my kid around trying to turn him into one as well.

‘100 Days to Indy’ can be a hook for a new generation of racing fans – and an autograph from their favorite driver can go a long way, too. James Black/IMS Photo

Please allow me to explain why 2024 was the first time I took my son to an IndyCar race as an IndyCar fan. In 2022 we left the 500 about halfway through. He was done and nothing I could do would change his mind. In 2023 we made it to the second red flag, but before that the most important part of the weekend was shopping for souvenirs. He would scout out the field a little bit to see what diecast car he would want to get. Often he was ready to head home before the race was over (or before it started) because he wanted to play with whatever it was we got that day.

In 2023 I watched 100 Days to Indy, but watching TV in a timeslot isn’t what kids do. He had no interest at the time. Recently 100 Days to Indy dropped on Netflix. I think my son has seen it at least half a dozen times by now. Instead of talking about whether he wanted a Newgarden or a Rahal diecast this year (he ended up getting Pato), he kept telling me about IndyCar. Did I know about the father and son who have won the 500? Did I know that Tony Kanaan has two racing simulators at home? Did I know this or that about Mario Andretti? Everything from 100 Days to Indy stuck and it hooked a next-generation fan. This year we had our own countdown to Indy. That’s normally saved for our Labor Day weekend family trip, but this year the excitement he had for the 500 was almost too much.

Now he’s asking me when Season 2 will be out. I know it is on the CW app, but he wants it on Neflix. I told him it was coming ‘soon.’ I’m not sure if he thinks it’ll be different when it gets there, but he’s looking forward to it. So, while I’ve written way too many words and taken up way too much space, I wanted to say thank you for making a fan out of my son. 100 Days to Indy was a massive hit for at least one of the generation of fans you’re trying to reach.

Ryan, West Michigan

MP: That’s everything IndyCar could hope for. The biggest thing that could happen to IndyCar is for the budding relationship with Netflix — one that’s been developed on its behalf by The CW — to take off and become a bigger thing so more sons and daughters and people of all ages get their first taste of the series.

IndyCar has been an amazing product for longer than I’ve been alive. I’ve been fortunate to have seen it first as a fan, and then as a crew member at its modern peak when the CART IndyCar Series ruled the country as its most popular racing series. And we’ve seen it fall back and into NASCAR’s shadow. And we’ve recently seen it fall behind F1 at home. But the quality of the racing product and the people in the paddock who make IndyCar special has never been in doubt.

While sitting in those shadows, the decades-long struggle has been to get people to notice and care about the series. IndyCar is waiting to have its WNBA moment where a beloved but under-the-radar sporting league gets a giant boost to bring it forward. Netflix has that power.

Q: Am I missing something, or would IndyCar be completely insane to pass up NBC’s alleged network-only TV deal? I obviously am not privy to the details of the proposed FOX deal, but NBC seems to be giving the series exactly what they’ve been asking for. This gives me flashbacks to the Motorsport Games fiasco.

PS: Are new speedway front wings still scheduled to debut in 2025?


MP: NBC stayed on air for nine hours and 20 minutes during the rain-delayed Indy 500. Let that sink in. How many broadcast partners would do that with their flagship network channel? If that doesn’t say that NBC is bending over backward to help IndyCar, I don’t know what will.
I keep hearing maybe on the new speedway wings.

Q: I am a long time IndyCar fan that has attended 39 Indy 500s and multiple Road America, WWTR and Iowa races. I watch most of Peacock’s Indy coverage. (Practices, qualifying and Carb Day). What happens to all that coverage if FOX gets the new TV contract?

Steve, Dwight, IL

MP: I’d assume the big new sports streaming bundle coming in 2025 that includes ESPN and its variations, FOX Sports and its variations, TNT, TBS, and so on, will cover that off.

Q: After watching last week’s IndyCar race in downtown Detroit I started wondering why IndyCar hasn’t returned to Michigan International Speedway? As I recall, the last time IndyCar was there the attendance – which understandably is most important when staging an event – was disappointing. But last time the series was at MIS it probably didn’t have the competitive depth and reliability it now delivers each weekend, and grid is absolutely packed with talent from the drivers to engineers as well as pit crews and sponsors. This racing package IndyCar has produced will put on a hell of show on the high banks.

Get a title sponsor, have Penske Entertainment do the promotion and make the Michigan 500 a highlight on the racing calendar. Iowa has done a fantastic job, with the Hy-Vee formula delivering two races and four concerts for the weekend entertainment. Why not MIS? IndyCar has the most reliable equipment, the best racing and the most talented drivers. Use this great facility before it no longer exists. One superspeedway race a year isn’t enough.

Tim Little

MP: Same classic case of a promoter needs to approach the series, since Penske Entertainment doesn’t own the track, and pitch a race and pay them for turning up. I’d love to go back, no doubt, but you first need an invitation to come to somebody’s house.

Come on Michigan millionaires, make it happen. Motorsport Images

Q: I see quite a lot of negativity on here from IndyCar fans and a lot of it is highly justified. However, I think it is important to focus on the positives, and for me that is that IndyCars produce the most entertaining single-seater racing in the world! Even the extended car crash at Detroit was silly fun in its own way, whilst this year’s Indy 500 was sensational.

As a massive IndyCar fan in the UK, I’ve persuaded my dad and uncle to splash out on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to come with me all the way to Portland at the end of August. Are there any recommendations you have for in-circuit entertainment etc, and any places we should check out in the city for eating and drinking in the evenings?

Paul Collins, Binfield, Berkshire, UK

MP: No doubt, Paul. Unfortunately, most folks don’t think to write in when they’re happy to tell the rest of us that they’re happy. It tends to be questions about the cars/drivers/sport, or venting. If more people wrote in to share the ways they’re happy about IndyCar, the Mailbag would be shorter and I’d get more sleep.

Let me know when you’re here — I’d love to show you around the paddock and introduce you and your family to some teams and drivers (the offer extends to everybody at whatever races I’m covering; been doing it for years).

Not sure on in-circuit fun as I attend the Portland GP for work, but there’s a great and funky little district about a mile down the road from the final corner. Stellar soul food at Po’ Shines Café De La Soul. Another restaurant named Casa Zoraya, which serves Peruvian-themed dishes, was the find of the 2021 race as Bourdais and I were trying to find something new, and he found this place and it was among the best meals — and the cocktails were insane — I’ve had in a decade.

Q: Can you tell me which two of Chip Ganassi Racing’s IndyCar’s are not eligible for the Leaders Circle this year?

I feel sad for Tom Blomqvist. How is a rookie supposed to evolve as a driver if He’s not given adequate seat time? I’m happy for David Malukas, though. MSR has implied that Blomqvist was largely parked due to the No. 66’s position in the Leader Circle standings, which I understand is important to every team. Yet Dale Coyne seems to be able to raise the necessary budget each year. And teams surely cannot count upon receiving the Leader Circle money each season.

Is this just more of the reflection of MSR as an organization that it does not have both cars in Leader Circle contention than it is of Blomqvist’s potential?

Tom Harader, Florence, OR

MP: If Penske Entertainment sticks to its charter plans, CGR’s No. 11 car didn’t qualify for a Leader Circle in last year’s Entrants’ championship because only three cars per team — except for Andretti’s grandfathered fourth car — are eligible, and the No. 11 was the lowest placing of CGR’s four cars. And the new No. 4 entry, which obviously wasn’t part of the championship in 2023.

True on Tom, but if Shank saw something that made him believe there were significantly better days ahead, he wouldn’t have parked him. Mike’s an old school guy; he’s seen in all and knows what a confident driver looks like. That was missing here. Costs have climbed about 30 percent for most teams in recent years, so yes, getting that $1 million LC contract is really important to complete an entry’s funding puzzle. Crashing on the first lap of the Indy 500 with a pretty serious driving error was the end in IndyCar, but Tom will be back in the saddle of a MSR car next year in GTP.

Q: I have a 16-year-old son that loves racing, primarily F1, IndyCar and IMSA. When talking about college, he has decided that he would like to pursue a degree in motorsports engineering. Being a mom that doesn’t know much about this field, I’m not sure where to start. It appears to be a not so popular degree in the U.S., with only a few schools that offer it. While his dream would be to go overseas to Oxford-Brooks, I’m not sure that’s remotely possible. Do you have any suggestions of schools that offer good programs in this area?

We’ve also tried to look into him shadowing a race team but that too is challenging if you don’t know anyone on a team. Do you have any suggestions or know of programs for high school students?

Erin Higgins

MP: Great to hear, Erin. Indiana’s Purdue University is the best I know of at home and has a lot of graduates and ties with IndyCar teams.

Q: Does JHR have regrets about letting Callum Ilott leave and retaining Augustin Canapino now with the success Ilott had at the Indy 500, threats continuing to come from Canapino fans, Arrow McLaren terminating its commercial partnership, and now JHR parking Canapino at Road America? With all the social media threats and the backlash, should/is IndyCar reconsidering the Argentina exhibition race? Things appear to be escalating, and per your June 4 article, Canapino does not seem to be helping the situation. A sad state of affairs, but it cannot be ignored or minimized.

Rick, Miami, FL

MP: I do not believe so on Ilott. The relationship ended badly.

Q: I noticed in Practice 2 at Road America that teams were taping over the air intakes on the aeroscreen. Wouldn’t this allow for an aero advantage and greater speed? If so, was this mandated for all cars? I assume it was done to keep moisture out of the cockpit, but it’s worth asking!

Pongo, SoCal

MP: It would, and it’s allowed by IndyCar to keep from dousing the drivers in the rain.

Q: Nolan Siegel, pretty much on last minute notice, raced for a team he has never raced with before. How quickly can he get a race suit ready? Who makes them and how short notice do they need to get one ready?

Jon, Cleveland

MP: The suit I saw him wearing was his Indy NXT suit. HRX, OMP, Sparco, and others make suits. Plain suits can be bought or acquired immediately. He wouldn’t have had a new custom suit in JHR’s colors and branding in time for Saturday or Sunday.

Late deals can mean getting creative with the firesuit. Here, Coyne’s Luca Ghiotto rocks Colin Braun’s suit at Barber.  Joe Skibinski/IMS Photo

Q: At the very tip of an IndyCar nose cones there appears to be a dent or divot. During Road America practice, some closeups seemed to show what looks like a sensor of some type in the some of the dents. Anything special about this dent? Something aero-related? Product of the manufacturing process? Just a dent?

Darrin, Brentwood

MP: It’s the location for the nose cameras, which were once used quite frequently but are now a rarity on the broadcasts.

Q: How are engines supplied to teams? Do the teams order a certain number each season and keep backup engines on hand in their trailers, or are they brought in by Chevy and Honda when the need arises due to malfunction or damage caused in an accident?

Tom Anderson

MP: Teams do not buy engines in IndyCar; they are provided on annual leases that cost $1.45 million per entry and that lease comes with four motors that are meant to deliver 10,000 miles of service, which is the equivalent to a full season of racing, plus testing.

The assignment of engines is done randomly by IndyCar, which instructs Chevy and Honda on which motor from the pool of available motors to provide to each entry. Chevy, through Ilmor Engineering, has a bunch of crated-and-ready engines to wheel to whomever, and Honda Racing Corporation US does the same for its teams.

Q: With Graham Rahal having issues getting a decent qualifying speed at the Indy 500, could there be a mental issue on his part that is preventing him from getting the speed from his car that is needed? His teammates seem to have the speed, so I am guessing that it is not a setup issue. I do understand that different driving styles may not translate across setups between team cars. Is it something in Graham’s mind or just his driving style and setup that does not get him a good speed at Indianapolis?

Ben Loosli, Knoxville, TN

MP: Possible? Yes. Likely? No. Last year, Graham dealt with the team’s worst case of ‘slow car syndrome.’ This year, he was working with a new race engineer in his first Indy 500. They chased setup problems, data configuration errors that gave incorrect ride height info, and he even dealt with a loose rear wheel on qualifying weekend. If he lacked confidence, he’d have bailed on the car after all of those issues, but he kept climbing in and going for it.

I might be on an island, but I swear he’d be a rocket in an Arrow McLaren or Andretti Global car at Indy.

Q: Why does Josef keep his qualifying position in a backup car?

Axel Gormsen

MP: Because the rues were changed a while ago so using a backup car doesn’t come with a grid penalty.

Q: Is it a penalty if a team doesn’t spritz the gas cap at the end of a pit stop?

Sweatin’ with the oldies, Janis, Tampa

MP: I do not know if it comes with a penalty, but teams are expected to ‘spritz’ (great word) the refueling buckeye with water to dilute any fuel that’s left over.

Q: What made the overcut for Power and Newgarden so effective?

Jim Blue

MP: It looked like DJ Willy P had a clearer track and a killer in-lap compared to his teammates, and that made the difference.

Q: How about that win by Jamie Chadwick? She has been running much better this year and with Road America being the closest to the style of tracks she raced on working up the European ladder, I’m not surprised she ran well and won. Good for her. The crowd where we sat in Canada Corner for the NXT race was cheering her victory, too.

John Baestrieri

MP: It was electric to be there and watch her pull into victory lane. Massive cheers from an enthusiastic crowd. She was, and continues to be, the real deal.

Q: I’ve been thinking about what IndyCar can do to get better ratings. What can it do since it avoids the NFL and goes up against F1 and NASCAR? Then it dawned on me. If they want to move the needle, there is only one man that can do it. This person has a promotional background so he could really bring a lot to the table. He never worried about the NFL. He just went against them head to head. When his own company struggled against his main competition, he didn’t tuck tail and run. He didn’t stop going up against them when they beat him handily, either. He changed the whole presentation of his product, taking control of his whole industry.

Yes, Marshall, the man IndyCar needs to hire is none other than Vincent Kennedy McMahon. What do you think?

Kris, Kokomo, IN

MP: If you ignore all of the sexual misconduct stuff and being forced out of his own company, I’d spend $99.95 on a PPV to watch Mr. McMahon strut into a Penske Entertainment marketing meeting and tell Roger and Co. how to do things.

Q: Can you confirm or deny the rumor that there is a dart board in race control and that Max and Arie throw darts to determine penalties? There were several “avoidable contact” calls made recently and several different penalties assessed. Drive through, stop-and-go, give up three positions, give up seven positions, move to the back of the pack… Why the inconsistency? Come on, Race Control. Do better!

Brian, Mason, OH

MP: If they have darts and beer in race control, that’s my new line of work. See you later, suckers!

Q: Any idea what goes down Sunday evening or Monday at Ganassi? Does Chip bollock Armstrong, or Hull say ‘don’t do it again’? Do they take him out back with Linus and give them boxing gloves? Does Chip say nothing but not renew for 2025? Wondered if you have any idea how the team handle these situations internally.

Oliver Wells

MP: Chip’s the ultimate ‘what’s next’ guy. He’ll say his piece and turn the page. Hull will hit them with some Yoda-isms. And they’ll move on. Others might linger a bit longer. Marcus brings about half the budget for the car, I’m told, so it’s not the same as wanting to bark at a driver who’s 100-percent on your payroll. It was dumb, and unnecessary, and I doubt Armstrong will get that one wrong in the future. All depends on the personalities of the other teams and drivers in how they go about reconciliation.

Armstrong’s Road America incident falls into the ‘address it and move on’ category for the team – this time. James Black/IMS Photo

Q: Is it wrong for me to root against Josef Newgarden? Have to admit, I have not gotten over the cheating scandal. For me, IndyCar, finally has the black hat guy.

So good to see Willy P. win again. He and Liz have had a tough go of it and his outlook and attitude is one of a supremely talented driver with the seasoned perspective of a 43-year-old. I think he said during his interview about how lucky he is and to complain he would need a good kick in the pants. Really refreshing.

On to Nashville. I was going to take six members of my family to Nashville this year. Disappointed the street race had to be moved, but we were still going to go. And then the Music City GP folks decided they are only going to sell paddock passes to club suite (out of my price range). Paddock passes are what has differentiated the IndyCar race weekend experience from all other series. Without them, sadly we are not going to Nashville now. I called Indianapolis about this, but have not heard anything back. I hope IndyCar reconsiders.

Jeff, State College, PA

MP: If you like great racecar drivers, Josef is about as good as it gets in IndyCar. But I understand the appeal of any given driver can go beyond what they do behind the steering wheel.

I saw the same Nashville email on tiered packages.

Q: Townsend Bell and James Hincliffe’s milquetoast explanation for Josef Newgarden punting Colton Herta off-course at Road America reminded me once again of how much I miss Paul Tracy’s presence on the TV broadcasts of the best series in racing. Secondly, the first lap on any racetrack, but especially a road circuit, should never play an outsized role in determining a race’s outcome. Given how often drivers seem to lose their mind on the first lap, can anything be done to reduce the probability of such incidents? Is passing another car prior to or in the first corner of a road race more important than a fair competition?

Mike Scott, Santa Fe, New Mexico

MP: There’s nothing that can be done by the series, barring threats and a willingness to carry out one-race bans for those who keep the Turn 1/lap 1 crash streak going — it’s three races in a row now — at Laguna Seca and beyond. It’s up to the drivers to either behave or not make mistakes. Short of fitting them with shock collars, I don’t know what else the series can do.

Q: Assuming that someone like Carlos Sainz takes Logan Sergeant’s seat at Williams, Is he on anyone’s radar for IndyCar?

I applaud IndyCar for moving the Road America race to a timeslot that did not conflict with the F1 Canadian GP (which ended almost exactly when the first crash at Road America occurred.)

However, in 2025 IndyCar has the ability to move run Road America onto a different day from F1 in Canada. Detroit should be on June 1, and Montreal is set for June 15. Will IndyCar be smart enough to schedule Road America on June 8?

Last year, when the races directly conflicted, the IndyCar Road America race got crushed. I am pretty sure it was the lowest-rated race all season. I assume this year will be significantly better since there was minimal overlap.

Sooner or later, IndyCar needs to see the handwriting on the wall – competing with F1 broadcasts is just as bad as competing with the NFL or NASCAR.

Snarky Moose, KC

MP: Logan’s been rumored to bring $30 million per year, so if he’s got big money to offer, I’m sure he’ll be considered. But I can’t think of a single team that would want to hire the last-place guy in F1, no matter who he is or where he comes from.

Q: Marshall, you are leaving us hanging. After casually dropping the bombshell two weeks ago that IndyCar was in talks with Stellantis as a possible engine supplier, no follow-up has been forthcoming. Wouldn’t this be a Big Deal if it happened, both for IndyCar and Stellantis? Even more so if the deal would involve a U.S. and an international nameplate.

Like most made-up post-merger corporate names, Stellantis has about zero name recognition although its component brands (Peugeot, Citroen, Fiat, Alfa, Maserati, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram) are well-known. It needs something to gain a higher profile, and motorsports might be it. The ‘French’ side of the company has zero presence in the United States, and its motorsports profile is nearly non-existent (except for the struggling Le Mans/WEC Peugeot program). With Alfa out of F1 sponsorship, the Italian/American side has no racing presence at all.

Interesting to speculate what a Stellantis IndyCar presence would look like. Can’t be Peugeot or Citroen – they aren’t sold here. The cash cows in the USA are Jeep and Ram, but I don’t see those as a fit with IndyCar. That leaves Chrysler or Dodge as the domestic nameplate, and Alfa or Maserati as the international one. Fiat seems to be a lesser priority in U.S. market. Dodge has been the performance brand; Chrysler is more generic. What I see locally is that dealerships are joint Alfa/Maserati propositions, making the nameplate choice a toss-up.

Factoid: Peugeot was dominant at Indy in the 1910s and Wilbur Shaw’s 1939-40 back-to-back was achieved in a Maserati. So, there is Indy history for the company.

Al, Boston

MP: I hear more interesting manufacturer tidbits involving IMSA and the WEC than I do for IndyCar. I’ll see if anything else is percolating.

Q: I was at the Detroit GP this past weekend and was in line to get some food. There was a dude with a ROKiT Foyt crew shirt on. The guy in front of me asked him about it. He said he worked on the crew when they ROKiT was on the car. I was trying to eavesdrop on the conversation and did not hear it all, but I did hear that Foyt never got paid for the sponsorship, and then the other guy said it was just like what Kurt Busch did to Andretti at the Indy 500 when he ran. Is this true that both sponsors failed to pay?

Chris, Charleston, SC

MP: Hadn’t heard about Busch. Regarding Foyt, the company is alleged to have left the team in a $10 million hole.

Many sponsorship arrangements work out great. Some do not. Mike Levitt/Motorsport Images

Q: I brought some newbies with me to Indy this year, and they all loved it! I was happy to learn just about everyone in the group decided to watch the Detroit GP this weekend too, and they weren’t turned off by the crashfest at all.

I suspected the track melees might have been what held their attention. But their first comments were mostly about the challenges of the street course, the different tire strategies, and the wrinkles Mother Nature threw at the race. Even though the chaos at the hairpin became ridiculous for the die-hard fans like me, it didn’t appear to turn off this particular group in any way.

I’ll encourage them to watch Road America to see a proper road course and the breadth of what makes IndyCar so unique. Hopefully this small sample is representative of what the series hopes to capitalize on by scheduling Detroit and Road America right after Indy. It’s working for my group, much to my surprise.

That got me wondering… what’s the best way for an individual viewer to have an impact on the success of the series?

I’m lucky enough to have Peacock bundled for free in my cable package. Is it better for the series if I watch an IndyCar race on NBC (or an affiliated cable channel, like USA) or if I stream it on Peacock? I want my eyeballs to make a difference.

John, Virginia

MP: Great to hear on your friends. If nothing else, a crashy race is spectacular. Streaming is the place where every viewer is counted. Not so on network; you’d need to be a Nielsen house to have your every TV move tracked and reported.

Q: During the Indy 500, Newgarden sported the red, white and yellow colors of Shell. In Detroit, his car was red in deference to his new sponsor. Sometimes, his car is black and white. Scotty Mac’s car was not the usual yellow, but powder blue. I kept thinking it was Alex Palou. But, no, he was in the yellow DHL car. What’s up with the constant changing of car colors? It’s very annoying trying to figure out who is who with the ever-changing car colors.

Jerry, TX

MP: Great question, and I promise it’s not being done to annoy you! We see the same thing in NASCAR as well, and it’s due to the high costs to campaign a car for a season and the struggles, for most (but not all) teams to sign a single sponsor that pays all the bills for a full year. PNC Bank on Scott Dixon’s car, or Verizon on Will Power’s, or Arrow on Paro O’Ward’s, are some of the exceptions, and in a lot of cases, it takes anything from three to five sponsors to share the 17-18 races to get the $8 million budget satisfied. Some teams are over $10 million per car, as well.

Q: I am a very long-term IndyCar fan and one thing that drives me nuts these days is the constantly-changing car liveries. I’m thinking mainly of the Penske cars. Power is consistent, with Verizon full-time, but Newgarden and McLaughin are changing from week to week, it seems. How many different car colors and sponsors has each had this season? Too many. And this from the premier team in the paddock. You shouldn’t need a number to figure out what driver is driving what car.

Follow Alonso in F1? Simple, he drives an all-green car.

Rick Hughes, Deer River, MN

MP: Same as above. Also, Alonso’s car is dressed in sponsorship and investment that comes from a team budget that exceeds 100,000,000 per year, so there’s no comparison to be made. As well, how often to NASCAR teams change the colors/sponsors on their cars per season?

Q: I went to the Indy 500 and Detroit this year. Indy was epic. Detroit was embarrassing. It’s a great event, but a terrible race. To fix the race, I think a couple things will help: 1. Hybrid cars that have starters will help a lot, for obvious reasons. 2. The cars are too tough. I don’t have a solution to this other than making them a little less tough without compromising safety. I’d settle for sidepods that shred tires of the other cars that touch them. 3. The pit lane is a neat solution to their limited track space but it’s a waste if the track sucks. So, swap the pits to the current front straight, delete Turn 8 as it stands, and use the pit lane area for a very high speed chicane that rewards big balls and punishes mistakes. 4. Maybe add a jump. I’m not an engineer, but something tells me this could possibly help. It certainly wouldn’t hurt the racing.

David Volk, Oregon, OH

MP: My eyes perked up with item No. 4. You’re hired as the new Detroit GP track designer!

Q: Can you think of a modern era street race that has as many flaws as the Detroit GP? From track condition and layout to race officiating and driver behavior, I really can’t think of one. This race was a total cluster. IndyCar needs to explain why they run so many laps under yellow after the track is cleared, this is ridiculous. Keep the pits open unless the hazard has a direct effect on pitlane.

P.S. As for future races in Michigan, give me Michigan Speedway or nothing.

Michigan Matt

MP: Michigan International Speedway hosted some amazing IndyCar races, didn’t it?

Q: According to Mark Miles there may not be any schedule changes for 2025 in regards to more events, but what about rumblings of existing races moving dates for next season?

Nathan, Indianapolis

MP: Well, we aren’t likely to be doing Miles’ beloved-but-unrequited post-season trip to race in Argentina, so there’s that. I hope to have more insights to offer in the coming weeks. With all of the awesomeness in and around the Indy 500 and the turn to the dark side at Detroit taking up my questionable mental bandwidth, I need to do a better job of getting some of the main items like this moving.

Q: I’m bummed to see that the tea leaves are pointing to FOX Sports getting the rights to televise IndyCar. I know IndyCar fans would have nothing to do if they weren’t complaining, but I’ve thought NBC’s coverage has been the best it’s ever been. I absolutely love the access we get to every single practice session, qualifying, etc. on Peacock. I love the whole broadcasting team and the consistency with Diff, Hinch and Townsend, along with all the pit lane reporters. Here’s one IndyCar fan hoping we don’t make the switch to FOX. (I’m guessing they’d use their whole NASCAR team of broadcasters, which would drive me even more nuts).

Also, it’s interesting to me that the two brightest young stars in the paddock, Colton and Pato, have such a hard time finishing races cleanly and have so few wins thus far in their careers. It’s been two races in a row (Indy and Detroit) now where Colton has had a super-fast car, only to crack them up because of his own mistakes. Is it just my bad memory, or did young guns like Montoya, Zanardi, Dixon, Franchitti, Power, etc, rack up many more wins than these young guys (except, of course, Alex Palou)? I’d love to see them win more; it just seems like they can’t get out of their own way and focus enough to consistently win. Thoughts?

Randy, Milwaukee

MP: Zanardi was an older veteran by the time he arrived here late in 1995. Dario tore up some equipment, but was more complete than many when he arrived, thanks to the amazing Paul Stewart Racing ladder and time spent as a young Mercedes factory sports car driver. Montoya was a unicorn; he blew everybody away in an instant, but also had a lot of mileage and high achievement to build upon.

You’re right. Pato and Colton should have more wins at this stage, but they’re also driving for teams that are one tier below Ganassi and Penske based on their overall results. Place either in Palou’s car or Newgarden’s car, and those wins take off.

Montoya wasted no time making an impression when he landed in CART in 1999. As an aside, can you imagine how much fun it would have been to watch O’Ward in one of those Reynards? Motorsport Images

Q: We have some sport channels in Canada: five for TSN, and two or three for Sportsnet, depending on what part of the country you are in. TSN is the channel for racing.

Aside from F1 and NASCAR, which is seen on these cable channels, TSN has started an additional streaming service called TSN+. It costs about 12 bucks a month, and shows sports of all kinds, including racing. So think of TSN as you would ESPN, and TSN+ as you would when you think of Peacock.

The IndyCar series is on TSN+. Not on your basic cable channel, but there is the additional cost of the streaming. I can see IndyCar practice, qualifying and races on this channel. Same with Formula 3, Formula 2, Formula E, and some NASCAR racing. So if you like racing, it’s not a bad deal. If you like only IndyCar, not a good deal.

The problem with steaming services is, I don’t know how to record the events for later viewing, so you have about a week to see it before the event is taken down. I have this streaming service, and I also have REV-TV, so I can watch IMSA, Indy NCT, and I watch WEC on YouTube a week after the race. This all costs money, so I cut down on buying racing tickets, in order to see it all on TV.

Quick word about Pato O’Ward. A couple of years ago in Toronto, I had a moment with him in the paddock, and requested a selfie with him. I had a brand-new camera and was trying to figure it all out. He, of course, complied. As it was a new camera, I got it all wrong, and the picture was garbage. He probably looked at me and thought, ‘here is an old guy not up on the technology,’ (I am 70). I figured it out after a minute or two, and Mr. O’Ward waited all the time for me to get it right, and then posed for the selfie. So impressed. What a class act he is.

Paul Sturmey, Kingston, Ontario

MP: Thanks for the story and intel, Paul. Pato’s parents are amazing and raised a kind and generous kid.

Q: David Malsher-Lopez wrote a wonderful obituary of Parnelli Jones last week; but he left out one significant milestone of his: He was the first — and one of only four — to drive a turbine at Indy, in 1967. If you want to see the innovation that Indy used to inspire — and did indeed gain him a briefcase with $100,000 in cash from Andy Granatelli — the Paramount newsreel titled ‘The Silent Screamer’ from the period goes into delightful details of the story of the No.40 Paxton/STP Turbine ‘whooshmobile.’ I cheered on as a 6-year-old at my first 500, and it broke my heart with two and a half laps to go.
Also speaking of Rufus, the blue & white No.93 Ol’ Calhoun roadster in the Speedway Museum is actually a replica: The original is in his car collection, per a mechanic on the car.

Dan Schwartz

MP: Thank you, Dan.

Q: Sixth race of the season, Grosjean gets knocked around a little bit, says “my hopes for a championship is over” and wants to park the car.

He needs some cheese to go with his whine. He’s never lived up to the hype and has wrecked as many cars as he’s finished races. He’s also lucky he went and ran his mouth to Larry Foyt, because A.J. would have knocked him around some more.

Has Juncos Hollinger come to the realization that they got a lemon of a driver yet?

John Hardaway, Culpeper, VA

MP: He just finished seventh for JHR at Road America, which is their best result of the season (John sent this before Sunday’s race). When things are going well, Romain is as fast as any driver in the series.

He was 17th in the championship and Canapino was 20th going into Road America. Last year, with Callum Ilott in the car, they were 14th in the standings and the rookie Canapino was 24th. Leaving Road America, Grosjean’s up to 16th.

Q: Detroit race… What a statistical challenge! The individual drivers are
my main focus, followed by the logistics of the teams. I do pay more
attention to Will Power than most drivers and Sunday it seems he passed
other cars about 75 times! Are there statistics for the number of times
individual cars make passes in a race?


MP: Yes, IndyCar has made an effort to compile passing stats at each race for a while now.

Q: In your Detroit Cooldown Lap, you said “[Ferrucci]’s just five points back from the heralded Christian Lundgaard, which is remarkable for a team operating with a fraction of the budget and resources of RLL.” Do you think that says more about Ferrucci’s overachieving, or Rahal’s underachieving? I say the latter.

Daniel, Cincinnati, OH

MP: It’s an interesting question, Daniel. Ferrucci could be 20th or something like that, but they aren’t, so I can’t tie their impressive form to anything RLL is or isn’t doing. RLL got better after now-departed-again technical director Stefano Sordo arrived, but not to the degree they’d hoped for, and other than Lundgaard, the team is rarely up and fighting with the Penskes and Ganassis on a consistent basis. Rahal’s been more competitive at times, but if there’s a RLL car in the spotlight, it tends to be Lundgaard.

He has that cool win from Toronto last year, but none of RLL’s drivers have looked like they are a threat to reach victory lane anytime soon. Heading into Road America, Lundgaard was 11th in the championship, Rahal was 16th, and Pietro Fittipaldi was 21st.

The same thing that’s been missing for many years is missing today, which is hard to watch — great people work there — and after yet another failed attempt to start a new season in a strong manner, we have one podium (Lundgaard) and four combined top 10s from the trio. Throw in Takuma Sato’s run to 14th at Indy, and that’s one good result and three more decent ones from 22 tries. Some changes probably need to be considered if RLL wants to break free from the midfield.

What will it take for RLL to break free of the midfield? Jake Galstad/Motorsport Images

Q: Once again, we have the death threats directed against our drivers. This time, a series rookie in only his fourth race.

All we are getting is silence from the Juncos Hollinger team, and from the series itself. Roger Penske, Jay Frye, and Mark Miles, get out of your chairs and do something. IndyCar has no need for this behavior, nor this type of team. We have other teams, seemingly without a toxic culture in tow, hoping and waiting to join the series.

The new charters will be valued commodities, and should only be offered to teams which will bring positive benefit and energy to the series.


MP: Things move pretty quickly in the series; all of the JHR stuff was resolved shortly after this was sent. On charters, sure, but that’s a subjective thing. Who’s to judge that one? Change a bad driver to a good driver from one year to the next and a team that wasn’t positive for the series is now on the right side of the adjudication…so would they actively give and take charters away every year based on this criteria?

Q: I certainly don’t approve of Ferrucci’s comment, but it seems the track didn’t bring out the best in anyone. With that being said, what are the odds of the race going back to Belle Island?

John Furnis

MP: According to Penske Entertainment, they won’t be moving back to Belle Isle.

Q: There has been so much to talk about lately about a brilliant 500, a truly embarrassing Detroit, Blomqvist being benched, Santino… but I want to get your take on Juncos Hollinger and Canapino.

The appalling language and threats that come from Argentina via socials, first to Callum Illot and now Theo, are unacceptable. I acknowledge we can’t always be held responsible for every knucklehead on Twitter, but Ricardo and Canapino can’t bring themselves to condemn it, and basically tell everyone to grow a pair. They are enablers, end of. Canapino fans the hate on social media.

Ricardo’s story is inspiring, Canapino’s not far behind. But man, they have gone from being guys to root for to guys I wish would just leave the series.

Truly ugly behavior. They are a toxic pair.


MP: Ricardo, and now Agustin, are paying the price for failing to read the room and treat last year’s attacks on Callum Ilott as serious problems to fight with speed and vigor. Ricardo explained to me multiple times about the cultural differences in how such threats are made and received in their native Argentina, which we can’t overlook.

But he and Agustin also saw and felt how those threats were received here in the U.S., and that’s where their failure to react swiftly and harshly to push back — to demonstrate to IndyCar’s home audience that they are aligned on this — only made the latest attack worse.

Agustin is one hell of a driver, but he has a lot of growing to do outside the car. I hope he can admit to coming at this the wrong way with Pourchaire and get a second chance from the team and IndyCar fans. The rush to cancel or condemn Canapino and/or the team does nothing to help them to be better in the areas where they are lacking.

Q: At what point will IndyCar take action against Agustin Canapino and/or Juncos Hollinger Racing for the online threats against other drivers by his fans? This is at least the third time it has happened, and team statements ring pretty hollow considering they took Canapino’s side and released Illot after the threats were directed at him last year.

Josh, Flo-Town, KY

MP: Since sports are built upon rules, what rule or rules would IndyCar use to take action against a driver and team for the actions, not by the driver or team, but by fans?

And if there was a rule that penalized teams and drivers for fan behavior on social media, every team would invest in bots to send the nastiest messages possible – posing as fans of each driver – to their rivals so IndyCar would have to act and penalize them.

Q: Holy cow, I just got an alert that Parnelli has gone to the big racetrack in the sky. I started to read the news, but I had to stop. I’ll try again tomorrow. No more Big Eagle, no more Rufus. Down to two of the icons of my childhood.

Rest in peace Rufus, and blessings to PJ, Paige and your family and legions of friends. You were an inspiration to me, and to my racing career (if career is an adequate term). Should the Indy powers that be deem it worthy, I will make the trip to 16th & Georgetown for the official salute you so richly deserve.

Big Bird, St Petersburg, FL

MP: One of the things I loved most about Parnelli was how he was received by so many like he was the first person to stand on the moon, like a human who was unlike any other before or after him, and how he felt so awkward being received that way. Some legends and heroes let you know they are legends and heroes — they act like a star — and that wasn’t Parnelli. But that also never changed the fact that we looked at him like a daredevil who could beat anybody in a car or in a fist fight. Those kinds of people are no longer made, which makes Parnelli’s death a tough one for those of us who will forever be in awe of all he was and all he accomplished.

As salute is mandatory. I also like the idea of IMS or the IMS Museum starting a statue program to place throughout the grounds. Getting to see those faces on the BorgWarner Trophy is an amazing thing, but since IMS is our Cooperstown, I’d love to see statues or pillars with busts of IndyCar’s greats erected around the property. I bet a lot of people would be interested in doing a walking tour to see each of the however many might be installed to read inscriptions of the person’s history and pose with the statue.

Q: The blue jackets for Indy 500 winners is a great new tradition. There were a few drivers missing – Danny Sullivan, Jacques Villeneuve, Tom Sneva, Juan Pablo Montoya… Any idea why these gentlemen were missing?

Zak, Hernando, MS

MP: I’d need to reach out to them to ask and while I’d welcome speaking to all of them — even JPM — we can just assume they had other things going on, or, in the case of JPM, the likely case of not giving a fart.

Q: The racing world lost an icon and a great man has gone to a better place. I thought the terms ‘speed’ and ‘Parnelli’ meant the same and were interchangeable. No-one ever did it better, and if you asked a question, you’d better be ready for a straight answer because that is what is coming.

I first saw this racer at The Little 500 in Anderson, IN on May 29, 1960 and even though he did not win that night, there was no doubt this fellow was very special and he never let us down. While I am very sad, this was my guy every time he put a helmet on and I was excited to see him do his thing. We very much need to celebrate his life.

Glenn Timmis, IndyCar observer/retired

MP: Amen, Glenn.

One of the all-time greats. Motorsport Images

Q: In last week’s Mailbag you wrote that FOX appears to be the frontrunner for IndyCar’s next TV contract. The series is chasing a larger payout, but how do the teams feel about this proposed move? Would they prefer more network TV dates to help sell sponsorships?

If FOX is paying more money that’s great for the series, but consider me skeptical that any of that money will trickle down to the teams in a meaningful way.


MP: As I’m told today and have been told for a good while, there’s no huge payday awaiting IndyCar with any TV deal. One might have a few more million than the other, but the money will go to Penske Entertainment, and not the teams, since there’s no TV money or revenue sharing between IndyCar’s owner and the independent team owners.

The number one thing team owners want from TV is better ratings and bigger audiences, because that’s the valuation mechanism they use while selling sponsorship. If a TV deal is done that enriches the series’ owner but does not deliver bigger/better TV numbers for its teams to enrich themselves though greater sponsorship income, we’re going to have an ugly situation on our hands.

This TV deal is a moratorium on whether Penske Entertainment places its financial interests in front of or behind the financial interests of its paddock.

Q: I have nothing but respect for Mr. Penske and what he has done in motorsports and business. Reading what you wrote in response to Mailbag questions about the TV contact, I don’t understand why he wouldn’t take up NBC’s offer to put all the races on the network. What is he thinking?

I also read that Hyundai is looking into buying a Formula 1 team. Why are these manufacturers going other places and not IndyCar?

Excluding you, can people stop being afraid of him and start asking hard questions?

David Tucker

MP: Above everything else, Roger is a businessman, and one of the greatest businessmen we’ve known in this sport. Seeking the best financial offer makes total sense as a primary motivation for a business-first person.

And if a broadcaster was offering a huge increase, it would be hard to reject it. But from all I’ve heard, we’re talking the difference between $20 million from one and $25 million from the other, or $25 million here and $30 million there which, in the big picture, isn’t enough in my mind to turn away from an all-network offer, assuming what I’ve been told about that offer being made is accurate.

Q: First, it’s weird that we can’t provide feedback to IndyCar as fans. I don’t know of any way to provide feedback to the series.

You wrote in last week’s Mailbag that Detroit having one passing zone is the biggest culprit behind that race being chaotic. As another Mailbag writer expressed, we go from an Indy 500 that is so well executed as a race and to a clown show in Detroit, and this is what leads to IndyCar not getting the respect it deserves.

If you took F1’s newest street tracks, Miami and Vegas, it’s like a night and day between those two races and Detroit. IndyCar needs to commit to a track that is wider, at least for a significant portion of the layout, and second, it can’t be a single passing zone track. The track needs to be long enough to provide multiple passing zones.

I don’t understand how IndyCar doesn’t take the quality of how a track races into account. It just looked like a big demolition derby and the amount of the race that was run under yellow provided less value for the fans. It always feels like IndyCar is looking to settle for mediocrity rather than excellence when it comes to streaming partner choices, TV coverage, marketing, fan engagement, and so on.

Shyam Cherupalla

MP: Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Shyam.

Q: Big Possum understands the criticism of the Detroit GP, but wonders what is better? A parade of F1 cars with the winner a forgone conclusion, or the Detroit GP which was suspenseful right up to the end? Detroit was a bunch of drivers going for it, the likes of which is never seen in F1. Big Possum thought it was a great, exciting race, Thrills, chills, spills and Dixon again putting on a masterclass.

By the way folks, get your tickets for Milwaukee – it will be great, old-time IndyCar racing. Big Possum remembers the time Foyt’s rear engine IndyCar did not show up for the Milwaukee race for some reason, so A.J. unloaded his sprint car, put it on the pole and would have won the race except his sprint car did not have enough fuel capacity and he had to stop more often. There is a great picture of the parade lap with A.J. in his sprinter and the rest of the field in rear-engine Lotus Ford-powered cars.

Big Possum

MP: I’m writing this in my hotel near The Mile on Monday and can’t wait to see cars in action again at Tuesday’s hybrid test. Been far too long.

Q: This question may seem a little bizarre, but I saw an image from this season of the 100 Days to Indy show of Will Power with his gentleman’s sausage out. I was wondering if you had a crumb of context as to why he had it out on TV? I am unable to watch the show in my country so I’m clueless.

Danny, Southend-on-Sea, UK

MP: Oh Lord. I just caught the last five minutes of the Season 2 finale in my Road America hotel room, and it looked spectacular. It’s also the only five minutes I’ve seen of Season 2 so I can’t say as to what was or wasn’t shown. Let’s hope Will Power’s PeePee isn’t a new star of Season 3.

If you type ‘sausage’ into our image library, the first thing that comes up is this photo of Gerhard Berger. Ercole Colombo/Motorsport Images

Q: Excuse my blatant naivety, but why can’t IndyCar consider using the 2026 F1 engine rules, RE: 1.6 liter V6 with hybrid electric using renewable fuels? This would open the door for up to six new manufacturers. IndyCars could mandate their own hybrid electric part to differentiate from the dreaded F1 crowd. Manufacturer people want to make commercially viable hybrids and Americans that buy cars love hybrids. I bet even Briggs & Stratton could make a viable 538 hp 1.6 liter V6, and so could the Penske-Ilmor sponsored by Chevy gang.

I realize that this assumes the whole world, including very old men, use common sense all the time – except Rupert Murdoch, who just got married for the fifth time.

Doug, Coronado

MP: The simple answer is because Formula 1 engine programs cost about as much as it takes to fund an entire season of IndyCar racing for all 27 cars, so it would kill the series in an instant since nobody could afford them. IndyCar went to renewable fuel in 2023, well ahead of F1.

Q: My question is about Team RLL and the BMW GTP program. Ever since the start of this IMSA season, Team RLL and the BMW effort have been mostly uninspiring. They’re currently seventh and eighth in the GTP standings and always seem to be outgunned by the other factory programs. Also, they have yet to even get a podium this year, with mistakes, crashes, and poor performances. What needs to change to get this program back into the fight?

To add on, and tie into the Indy side, it just feels like RLL can’t seem to get out of its own way. I can’t say they’ve felt like a top tier team on the sportscar side in a long time and their IndyCar performance is overall lackluster. Hell, isn’t the fact that Graham was fighting on Bump Day for the second year in a row sad enough?


MP: RLL lost its BMW GTP technical director Brandon Fry during the offseason, and while I can’t say he’s the sole reason for the decline, I can say that Porsche Penske Motorsports became a lot more competitive when he moved there in a similar role entering 2024.

At its core, racing is a big series of decisions. Every team has to make essentially the same calls on who to hire, how to act, what to do, what not to do, etc. For the teams that continuously succeed, we know they have the right people in those important decision-making positions because the results say so. The same applies to what the results tell us about the decision makers at teams that aren’t continuously successful.

Teams change drivers all the time if they aren’t performing. I wonder why underperforming teams don’t take the same aggressive approach to changing out the decision makers who aren’t performing.

I hit a rough patch in my personal life in 2000, lost my focus — stopped caring — and it was evident in my work as an assistant race engineer. And while it made me angry at the time, the IndyCar team I worked for fired me, and with a bit of distance to reflect, I appreciated and respected the decision because it was done in the best interest of the team.

It also helped me to get out of a bad relationship, get back to a happier place in life, and return with a different team in a much better situation. It sucks to be on the receiving end of the invitation to leave, but if it helps the team to improve, it needs to happen.

Q: Frankly, the more you state that IndyCar’s TV package may go to FOX, the more I’m worried. I remember the Versus days when the channel was buried deep in sports packages on cable for a hefty price for most people. Nothing was streamed outside of watching little dots go in circles on Coverage was light at best. Plus, the ABC coverage was boring enough to lull even the most hyperactive child to sleep.

NBC was a godsend. I can watch practice, qualifying, and the race on Peacock live or via replay. Peacock also has a lot of other great sports content and all the other NBC shows. Plus, it’s not expensive. Now you’re telling me coverage may go to FOX… and, correct me if I’m wrong, there’s no way to stream FOX Sports content unless you have a cable tv subscription. I know most of the viewer numbers still come from network or cable, but for a lot of us, especially those under 40 like myself, we don’t have cable. I haven’t had cable for over 15 years now. Even my Boomer parents don’t have cable anymore. If IndyCar goes to FOX without a streaming option, it will be like going back to the Versus days… which I don’t think any fan wants.

Ross Bynum

MP: I believe there will be a new mega-streaming sport package bundle with ESPN, FOX Sports, and many others that should be ready to launch next year, so there’s that.

Q: Ever since the Dixon/O’Ward incident in Long Beach last year, I’ve been watching the trend of driving standards slowly fall. I get that Detroit is tight and short with not a lot of passing zones, but watching the ‘newer’ guys take some crazy dive bombs is wild. And it seemed like more than half of those dive bombs ended in tears.

Compare that to guys like Dixon or Rossi (sometimes), who still race how I remember the standards being. Am I looking back with rose-colored glasses? Are guys in the paddock talking about this kind of stuff? Curious to know what the general feeling amongst the old guard is toward this subject, and if there have been any talks of cleaning up our racing a touch.


MP: Different times, for sure. I had the same conversation with a team owner who said they could never imagine an Emerson Fittipaldi or Rick Mears trying some of the crash-first-apologize-later stuff we saw at Detroit, and the reason for it is because in those olden days, the cars weren’t built like today’s tanks. They were thin steel, aluminum, or aluminum honeycomb that folded in and back and destroyed or seriously damaged their bodies due to the lesser technologies available at the time. And it’s true. With the extreme sturdiness of the Dallara DW12 and the amazing safety advancements that have been added over the last decade, there’s just no concern carried by drivers like they were by those in previous cars that kept self-preservation firmly in mind whenever passing attempts were considered.

There’s been a lot of this sort of thing lately. Josh Tons/Motorsport Images

Q: As a Canadian motorsports – mainly IndyCar and IMSA – fan, I’m very concerned about the future of both series in Canada. It just feels like neither series really cares about us, especially IndyCar. Unless the races are on NBC we are out of luck and have to use internet ‘magic’ to watch these races, but not everyone can do that. It just makes no sense to me since both series’ have a race in Canada, yet I feel like if I lived in the UK I’d have an easier time watching them on TV, seems so backwards. I do appreciate IMSA broadcasting on YouTube now.

Is there any news about a potential better TV deal coming for Canada? It’s terrible with TSN, like as Canadians we really want to support IndyCar and IMSA but it’s becoming impossible. Also, is there any possibility that GTP will be back at CTMP in 2026? The fact that they go to that terrible track in Detroit and not CTMP is so wrong to me. I get the corporate pressure, though.

P.S. I want to thank Hinch and Pfaff Motorsports for everything they do to keep motorsports relevant in Canada – without them, I would have given up watching years ago

David, Mississauga, ON

MP: We’ll have to wait and see what IndyCar ends up with. If it’s FOX, as everybody thinks it is, the answer would be tied to whatever presence FOX has in Canada, I’d assume.

Q: With Agustin Canapino and Ricardo Juncos’ astounding lack of self-awareness (finally) having actual consequences with the cancellation of JHR’s commercial partnership with Arrow McLaren, and the Argentine economy’s continual poor performance, is there a risk that JHR may not survive and fold before the season is out? Or do they have enough financial solidity to weather the (self-inflicted) storm?

Chris Donati, Bristol, UK

MP: Juncos Racing became Juncos Hollinger Racing with the ownership stake taken by Brad Hollinger. Hollinger’s love for racing, plus his extreme success in business as the founder and CEO of Vibra Healthcare, has been the financial engine behind the JHR program. Here’s something that might explain things from the Vibra site: “Brad Hollinger founded Vibra Healthcare in the spring of 2004 and it quickly grew with the acquisition of six specialty hospitals. With the support of a highly experienced management team, Vibra has grown to where it and its affiliates currently employ over 6,000 employees and operate 45 specialty hospitals, hospital-based outpatient physical therapy locations, and skilled nursing facilities in 14 states.”

So, JHR is safe as long as Hollinger wants to keep funding it. The team is meant to find sponsors to pay for its racing, but that fell apart in the offseason and Hollinger has been amazing in his benevolent efforts to continue bankrolling the largely sponsor-free entries.

Also, the McLaren deal wasn’t a serious money-making affair. The loss is more embarrassing than anything else.

Q: Question for Marshall, Chris, Kelly and Mark G that I thought of during the Detroit race: What’s the worst track each of you have ever visited?

Chris Hanrahan

MP: Depends on what the worst aspect is; I love the 24 Hours of Le Mans in so many ways, but I also hate the place with a passion. And I don’t mean the racing circuit where the cars compete; it’s gorgeous and so unbelievable. But the actual working part, from where you get credentials, to where you park, to getting in every day, to moving about the place to do the basics of the job, is an endless s***fight. Everything is a no, or worse, and it was that way on my first trip in 2007 and hasn’t changed.

When I flew home from last year’s race, I told myself — having been fortunate to cover it 11 times — that I wouldn’t be going back unless it was a really special occasion. Almost every year, I had the best credentials and access possible, but it often didn’t matter. Counter that with IMS, which makes doing this job as easy as possible.

CHRIS MEDLAND: I guess it depends if you mean from a facilities standpoint or a racing/driving one, but for the latter I’d probably have to say Sochi Autodrom. As a facility it was quite good, but it was such an uninspiring track after the first couple of corners, retrofitted to the old Winter Olympic Park.

I must admit Montreal is disappointing – it has had recent investment and is still a temporary workspace with terrible access for the teams and their guests. The media center is fine as it’s not longer a tent, but the commentary booths in the same building leaked badly again this year after Friday’s downpour. Crews should not be holding buckets to the roof and having their equipment ruined in a new building.

The flip side is it’s a really cool track and the fan base is amazing, but those fans were also not well treated on Friday, and Saturday night, with trouble getting in and out. I also put Imola in a similar category in terms of F1 facilities, but it’s just such a beautiful and iconic track layout it gets away with the stuff around the edges.

Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya also comes to mind, as its facilities are poor and management of the event regularly a challenge, and it’s not like the venue is lacking for space compared to Montreal and Imola. But it’s not as inspiring a track, either.

I am being harsh because I’m picking from the ones I’ve worked at in an F1 capacity and they’re expected to host what claims to be the pinnacle of racing.

KELLY CRANDALL: I’m not one to sling mud, but I’ll tackle it from a media perspective. And no, I’m not going to name names. The biggest thing for me when it comes to a racetrack is the amenities and being able to do the job. There are quite a few that struggle with cell signal and even strong Wi-Fi networks throughout a race weekend. Comfortable chairs are nice, too.

MARK GLENDENNING: Chengdu, for A1GP in 2008. I tried to write an off-season feature about that place a couple of years ago but it didn’t come together, in part because a couple of people I reached out to still didn’t want to talk about it more than a decade later!

Chengdu has been bulldozed in the years since A1GP’s visit in 2008, but it lives on in our hearts. Motorsport Images

Q: I’m so disgusted with ESPN. It’s a travesty to spend $75 million dollars for F1 coverage and try to increase viewership, and then they’ve been pulling this crap of putting F1 practices and qualifying on ESPNnews and ESPNU (see Canadian GP coverage). What do you think?

Jack, Ft. Pierce, FL

CM: It’s a tough balance to strike to be honest, because the issue ESPN has when the races are in North America is that it makes them far more likely to clash with other sporting events. And as much as F1 is growing and has huge potential in the U.S., a broadcaster has to balance that growth with not harming other sports it has the rights to as well.

That’s why I generally understand practice being on more obscure channels – it’s a very hardcore audience that will watch FP sessions, so you can almost expect them to go searching a bit more if required – but I would like to see qualifying in particular getting a bigger billing where possible.

I’m told that it was the College World Series and Women’s College World Series that conflicted this past week, and that there could be clashes around tennis majors at Wimbledon and the US Open across the rest of the summer.

Sky Sports in the UK has a dedicated F1 channel (alongside many other sports) that means viewers always know where the sessions will be, so maybe if the ESPN deal is extended that could be an option and another content share agreement could be worked out.

Q: I just read your reporting on the Canadian GP. Sounds like it was epic. Unfortunately, my cable provider (Frontier Communications) messed up. First it was going to be on ABC, but the programming guide said otherwise. Then it was going to be on ESPN News live. But the cable programming guide said no. The race was to be at 4pm local time. So, at 4pm the programming guide says ‘F1 racing’ but college baseball is on. No race. And the banner stream at the bottom reports Verstappen as the winner. Just when F1 is getting interesting again, our TV people pull this. Am I the only one that had this problem?

Rob, Huntington Beach, CA

CM: Our esteemed editor Mark informs me this wasn’t the only such complaint Rob, so it wasn’t just you, but it also didn’t seem to be a widespread issue. I actually contacted ESPN and was told it could have been errors by ABC affiliates that ESPN has no control over.

In Los Angeles, the ABC affiliate joined at 2pm ET (so at lights out) due to a scheduling conflict, and the New York affiliate didn’t join until an hour into the race for the same reason, but that’s an issue due to different markets and affiliates rather than an ESPN choice.

ESPN is doing a great job in general when you consider where F1 was in the U.S. when it took over as the broadcaster, but if you need a back-up for any particular weekends then F1 TV is a great option too (and sits alongside ESPN in the sense of providing you with lots of shoulder programming).

Personal plug, but you could also listen on SiriusXM too if you need to! We do the only U.S.-focused live pre and post-race shows from the track, and take the BBC 5 Live commentary of the entire race, plus regularly do phone-ins post-race too.

Q: Why don’t the new F1 2026 regulations require an aeroscreen?

Marv, State College, PA

CM: Put simply, because it’s not homologated as a solution by the FIA. The FIA worked on and devised the Halo, and has a number of requirements and tests that it needs to pass that it feels is safe enough for F1. Small debris can obviously still get through but there are fewer incidents of cars driving through flying debris at high speed in F1 compared to IndyCar because of the absence of close racing on ovals.

I think both series have got very good solutions for themselves as it stands, and I know the FIA do pay attention to the Aeroscreen (that was first developed by Red Bull don’t forget, when F1 was looking at different options), but feel the Halo works as the best solution for F1.

That’s also partly due to the aerodynamic impact of an Aeroscreen that makes it harder to incorporate in F1 where everyone designs their own cars, compared to the spec aero in IndyCar.

Q: Your article on the 2026 F1 chassis regulations said no aero work was allowed until 1/1/25. Am I correct in assuming this means no CFD or wind tunnel work? You are never going to stop Adrian Newey and his counterparts from thinking about them or doing napkin sketches.

What defines curves and straights for aero purposes? Just the driver with a switch, or does the FIA set up zones similar to current DRS?

Doug Farrow, Plymouth, MN

CM: You are correct, Doug – I actually spoke to Nikolas Tombazis from the FIA about this over the weekend and it’s policed just the same way as the aerodynamic testing restrictions (ATR) are, with the governing body having access to all of the teams’ different runs in CFD or the wind tunnel.

On the aero purposes question, those details are not defined yet. It sounds like it’s actually going to be sensor driven, with cars automatically taking on the low drag configuration once the car is not so heavily loaded or sliding.

Q: I understand that there is a contract for F1 to race at Montreal’s Isle Notre Dame into 2031. But given the crowd control, parking, and other technical issues there this past weekend, is there any consideration given to running the Canadian F1 event at the Circuit Mont-Tremblant? F1 did run there in the late ‘60s and 1970. Mont-Tremblant is a wonderful natural terrain road course. I haven’t been there in over 20 years, since the Grand-Am days. Could this track host a very large spectator event?

Don Velocity, Cleveland, OH

CM: As great as the track layout is Don, it just doesn’t have the infrastructure to host F1. Both from the requirements in terms of likely safety changes, but also pit and paddock buildings, hospitality etc. And that’s before you get to the surrounding area and trying to get fans in and out.

Austria springs to mind as similar in terms of great terrain and being far from a significant population center with hotels and accommodation options, but that is at least a race right by a major road. Paul Ricard was a recent example of a venue that was inaccessible for a large number of spectators despite acceptable facilities.

There are so many great circuits but they need to be handle so much more than just the cars on track, so I’m afraid Mont-Tremblant is not an option. It could do with some more major investment (because solutions are tough with the track location on the island) but I think Montreal is the priority, just with some improvements.

How about we send F1 back to Mont-Tremblant, but make the cars use 1968 aero? Problem solved. Motorsport Images

Q: Several years ago, I was watching a NASCAR race where during a pit stop, I believe one team’s tire chargers had individual air tanks for their air guns. NASCAR confiscated the equipment and later ruled that the system was too expensive and banned it. It seems like it would be a good idea to stop dragging hoses around and get them out of the way. No more trip hazards, or some that could be run over. Some series have their hoses hanging down from a support arm.

Individual air systems may have been too expensive then, but with time and experience couldn’t the cost have come down? And not tossing guns around should reduce wear and tear on them. Why can’t we replace the current system?

Tim Davis, Detroit, MI

KC: I’ve always subscribed to the notion that if it’s not broken, don’t fix it, and as far as I can tell, there haven’t been suggestions that the system on pit road needs to be any different. However, I wanted to get the input of a pit crew member who would know better than I, so I reached out to Ryan Flores of Ryan Blaney’s group from Team Penske. Here is what Flores said: “I’d say the biggest reason we don’t do that is because of safety. Compressed air in your back while playing in traffic could be a recipe for disaster. The current system is simple and effective. No real need to change it.”

From Robin Miller’s Mailbag, 11 June, 2014

Q: The book “Black Noon: The Year They Stopped the Indy 500” has recently been published. It is always great to see more Indy-related books being written and this book covers the tragedy that occurred during the 1964 race. Do you have any stories related to that day and about the author, Art Garner?

Denny Z. Dallas, TX

ROBIN MILLER: I never met Art until last month but he did an amazing job of talking to all the right people and recreating one of the most pivotal and emotion Mays of all time. My dad finally talked my mom into attending the race and, as fate had it, we were sitting just south of the crash and across from Ronnie Duman, who jumped out of his burning car. My mother said she wanted to leave and I begged dad to stay, so we made it halfway before heading home. And Ronnie, who lost his life at Milwaukee in 1968, had a son, Rick, who was my mechanic on the first midget I ran in USAC in 1975. His sister, Rhonda, was the president of my fan club and I think it had 11 members.

Story originally appeared on Racer