Revved Up! Autoweek Readers React to Week's Biggest Racing News

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Readers React to Week's Biggest Racing NewsIcon Sportswire - Getty Images

After a long offseason, the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona this weekend, and NASCAR's Busch Light Clash next weekend in LA, we're getting REVVED UP!! again.

So get ready for the regular return of our weekly mailbag going forward.

Here are some of the best stories we've had in Autoweek the past week-plus, the best reader comments, and my insight as well. Enjoy!

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Michael Andretti is seeking to add the World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans to his ever-expanding racing plate.IMSA Photo

Michael Andretti Wants World Racing Domination, and That Includes Le Mans, WEC

Readers Say:

• Bob Schumaker: Maybe he should try to dominate the USA first?

• Daniel K. Moorefield: Once a racer always a racer.

• Tom Eddie: But his IndyCar team has been falling behind.

Autoweek Contributor Jerry Bonkowski Says:

JB: I wouldn't go totally so far as to say Andretti wants to dominate the world of racing. But he certainly wants to be a significant player like Roger Penske. Granted, Andretti's IndyCar teams have struggled the last few years, including the departure of Alexander Rossi after last season, something that in my opinion should never have happened. And I've always believed that if you're going to be a success, fix what needs to be fixed at home first before you take on new challenges. But overall, I like that Andretti is getting bigger and broadening his racing horizons. He is one of the few people that can do something like this. Plus, one last point: All of the things he's becoming involved in, most notably F1, have all come together of late because Michael was presented with business opportunities that were just too good to pass up. Racing is all about timing, and this was the right time for Michael to become involved. Lastly, don't be surprised if his son Marco becomes heavily involved in the organization in the next year or two on the administrative side.

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Mario Andretti has been active in behind-the-scenes discussions with Formula 1 insiders regarding son MichaelGetty Images

Why Time Is Becoming a Factor in Andretti F1 Bid

Readers say:

• Nick Plenzick: Even though I know it would never happen, if F1 doesn't let Andretti in I'd love to see my fellow citizens boycott the three races in the USA.

• Kevin Barry: When was the last time the Andretti team won anything in IndyCar?

• David Leet: The FIA is too chicken to accept Andretti in.

Autoweek Contributor Jerry Bonkowski Says:

JB: It's hard to believe the FIA and F1 are both "afraid" of Michael Andretti, and that's why they are trying to keep him out. On the contrary, the Andretti name would only help bring more money into the series. Still, F1 teams want to focus on the 11th team splitting the prize money away from other F1 teams—which is why so many are against Andretti coming into the fold. But given F1 is owned by an American company (Liberty Media) and that 2023 will see the series have three races within the U.S. for the first time since 1982 (Long Beach, Detroit, Las Vegas), it's only a good thing for the entire series that Andretti joins the group by 2025 or 2026. If FIA and the other F1 teams vote against it, they'd be absolute morons.

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Tony Stewart (14) and Carl Edwards (99) had a championship chase for the ages.Getty Images

NASCAR 75: Tony Stewart Wins Crazy 2011 Cup Series Championship ... on a Tie-Breaker?

Readers Say:

• Daniel Cox: Awesome man and driver.

• Gerald Gay: That seemed to be the end of his career. He packed it in not long after, have never heard of him or saw him since.

Autoweek Contributor Jerry Bonkowski Says:

JB: Yes, Tony Stewart was an awesome man and driver, Daniel. And Gerald, as for your comment (I can only assume you are talking about Cousin Carl), to be fair, Edwards did stick around five more seasons before he abruptly called it quits. Maybe he got tired of the circus, the politics, or having made more than enough money to live the rest of his life on. Maybe Carl just wanted to be with his wife and family and didn't want to risk his life anymore. No matter what the reason, I have always respected his decision and believe he did what was right for himself. You can't fault someone for that at all.

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Miami Grand Prix

Spectacular First Images of F1 Miami Grand Prix Moving Paddock inside Hard Rock Stadium

Reader Says:

• Laura Klopp Robertson: More water stations, cooldown/misting areas and shade of any kind would be huge improvements

Autoweek Contributor Jerry Bonkowski Says:

JB: I couldn't agree with you more, Laura. I took a walk through the fan zone during last year's debut weekend, and even though I had a bottle of water, I literally ran out of gas. I had to find an emergency medical shelter and rest my body because there were few other locations to get water or to rest. There definitely should be more spots to sit down. I walked roughly 2 ½ miles around the entire fan zone compound, and I couldn't believe how few seating areas were available—and I'm not including things like restaurants, etc. As for the paddock moving inside the stadium, meh. I don't really see it as a major selling point for fans, although it will keep things a bit more compact. I do recall how q-u-i-e-t it was inside the stadium during the course of the race, which I found surprising. I think you'll continue to see at least another year or two of tweaking before organizers get everything right, but based on how the first race went last May, I already believe they're winners down there in the Sunshine State.

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Ross Chastain races along the wall at Martinsville.Getty Images

NASCAR 75: Ross Chastain Pulls off Greatest Race Move in NASCAR History

Readers Say:

• Speedylee Elder: No argument. Best move I've seen. There have been lots of great MOMENTS and I understand the difference. But this was sensational.

• Dave Laxton: Many great moments over the years but Last Lap to make the Championship Group and could have only pulled it off at this track because turns 3 & 4 are basically connected so the centrifugal force pinned him to the wall to make that move. I can't say how many times I replayed it. Even listening to the other drivers in car radio comments were just in amazement of the move and having it work!

• CJ Ainsworth: Dale (Earnhardt Sr.) running through the dirt at Riverside, passing 3 cars, was pretty good too.

• Cory Friest: (I'm) not even a 3 fan, but the move you referred to was WAY better than Chastain's junk. Dale was driving the wheels off his car HIMSELF, and didn't need any concrete barriers to keep him in his crib or steer for him.

• Dan Rose: I'm not a Ross fan but after the Cinderella season he had, and then to cap if off like that, he deserves to be acknowledged for a tremendous effort and a refuse to lose attitude that too many other "corporate" drivers just don't seem to have. You go Ross. Good luck in 2023!

• Joe Petkovich: A once in a lifetime move. The most exciting thing in the last 20 years of NASCAR.

• Tom Brissey: I know it's the wildest thing I've ever seen! On a side note. Wonder how long before NASCAR bans moves like this?

• Susan Coudriet (in response to Tom Brissey): I honestly don't think they need to. The chances of anyone doing that move again, successfully, are pretty slim. So many ways that could have ended badly, but it was amazing to watch.

Autoweek Contributor Jerry Bonkowski Says:

JB: I have been watching racing for well over 40 years, and it's hard for me to quantify one exciting moment was greater than another. I will say this: Chastain's move was definitely outstanding and one of the greatest moves the sport has seen in many years. It's just what the Series needed to further build up interest and attention for the playoffs. Ross indeed had a Cinderella season. Without question, the best he's ever enjoyed in Cup. But I'm hoping that was just an appetizer and 2023, 2024, 2025 and beyond are even greater years for him and his team.

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Just three of the 18 full-time drivers in the top class of the IMSA WeatherTech Series are Americans.IMSA Photo

IMSA Struggles to Attract, Keep American Drivers in Top Class

Readers Say:

• Bob Ryder: Road racing is just not very popular in America. Road Racing in Europe and other parts of the planet is a religion! America is all about NASCAR, USAC, Sprint Car, Midget, Late Model and IndyCar oval racing. NHRA drag racing is also on the list.

• Dennis Bell: I agree (with Bob Ryder) as a fan and participant. Road racing (my preference) is NASCAR in Europe. Our country has numerous racing series so the talent gets spread pretty thin. I've always felt we don't do enough on the world stage, though.

Autoweek Contributor Jerry Bonkowski Says:

JB: While I wholeheartedly agree that IMSA needs more American drivers if it is to grow in North America, the problem is—much like Bob Ryder alludes to—there just aren't that many drivers in the U.S., in particular, who want to compete in IMSA. They'd all rather be in NASCAR, IndyCar, and even F1 (although their chances of making it to F1 are next to impossible). IMSA needs to make a number of significant changes to bring more North American drivers (including U.S., Canadian, and Mexican) into the series. But given the series is typically a dozen or fewer races per year, overall media coverage at most events is minimal (except for the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona). There is no real true developmental series like NASCAR has with the Xfinity Series or IndyCar has with Indy NXT. Newer fans get confused at having different classes competing in the same event at the same time, and fans just don't seem to get overly excited at IMSA-style racing like they do with other racing series in the U.S. And, as much as I like IMSA and appreciate its history and heritage, I'd go so far as to say a MAJOR overhaul is necessary for the series to grow—not to mention, attract more American drivers.

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Kyle Larson has dreams of attempting the Indy 500-Coke 600 double in 2024.Getty Images

2021 NASCAR Cup Champ Kyle Larson Plans to Race in 2024 Indy 500

Autoweek Contributor Jerry Bonkowski Says:

JB: I am soooo looking forward to this because, short of Tony Stewart, I can't think of any other driver who could be ultra-competitive and have the best chance of winning at least one-half of the Double than Kyle Larson. I just wish it would be this year rather than making us all wait until May 2024. That said, I'm not 100% convinced that the other Kyle—Kyle Busch, that is—won't still make a run at this year's Double. He has all the ingredients he needs, plus an owner who will support him in new-boss Richard Childress (Joe Gibbs was adamant about not letting Busch do the Double). Older brother Kurt Busch has already done the Double—in fact, back in 2014, he was the last driver to attempt it (somehow, I just can't believe it's been that long already). What better way for one Kyle (Busch) to steal the thunder away from the other Kyle (Larson) than the younger Busch brother competing in this year's Double—and then potentially coming back to go head-to-head with Larson in next year's Double as well.

Follow Autoweek contributor Jerry Bonkowski on Twitter @JerryBonkowski