I was sitting at home on Sunday, thinking and thinking deeply about ways to get this blog a little spark. I thought maybe some longer posts but I thought “how cool would it be to interview my favorite sports writer Robin Miller.
So before the Sprint Cup race on Sunday I sent him an email asking him if I could interview him. Last night I got a reply and he said yes. I was so excited then I sent him 15 IndyCar topic questions and he responded late last night. Here are the questions with Robin.
If you do not know who Robin is. He is speedtv.com’s IndyCar writer. He has been covering IndyCar for more than 40 years. He’s been featured on “Speed Center” and “Wind Tunnel.” Also known for his weekly “Miller’s Mailbag” which gives fans an opportunity to email him and he gives answers to all IndyCar topics.
1. With Lotus signing Dreyer & Reinbold, HVM, Mike Shank, and Bryan Herta Autosport, what other teams do you see going to Lotus for engine backing for 2012? Also where does Newman Haas Racing land in this equation
RM: Possibly Dale Coyne and Eric Bachelart for Lotus engines. I imagine Honda for Newman/Haas.
2. I remember a few weeks ago when you were on Wind Tunnel with Mario Andretti and I remember you saying that the NASCAR build ovals aren’t good for IndyCar. I then thought of some solutions to that. I thought maybe Pikes Peak, and Richmond. Would Randy Bernard explore those two tracks possibly? Is a return to Loudon a possibility too?
RM: Richmond is certainly in the conversation for 2013 and Loudon still has an outside shot for next year. Milwaukee and Phoenix need to be on the schedule but finding promoters won’t be easy.
3. What direction do you think the IndyCar schedule should go in now since the whole oval thing has been a disaster lately?
RM: Depends on what the engineers come up with for the 1.5-mile ovals. But I’d rather seeMichigan and Fontana than Vegas, KC or Chicago. The heritage of Indy cars is ovals and the magic of the series is that it’s the most diverse in the world and that must remain. We just don’t need 10 ovals and 10 road courses. I’d like to see 7-7-7 (streets, road courses and ovals).
4. Who do you think Andretti Autosport goes after for the GoDaddy car and who will be there fourth driver?
RM: Good question because GO DADDY wants a high profile driver and there’s not many out there. I’d think Bourdais would be a good choice but he’s not American so maybe move Ryan Hunter-Reay to the GO DADDY ride. Not sure they’ll have four cars in 2012.
5. A few weeks ago I was listening to an edition of the Dan Dakich Show which you were on with Kevin Lee. What are some ways of incorporating the one day shows at ovals RE:Iowa, Texas, Fontana etc?
RM: Simple. Practice in the morning, qualify an hour later and race at 2 pm — saves the promoter and teams a fortune and gives the fans a day of non-stop action
6. Where will Vitor Meira go in 2012? I’ve heard Rahal but I’m not believing it.
RM: Naw, not there (Sato will be with Rahal I think). Not sure Vitor will have a ride.
7. A.J. Foyt recently got rid of Vitor Meira but I think that team won’t find a driver for next season. Is Josef Newgarden or Stefan Wilson an option or what other driver is out there?
RM: AJ wants Justin Wilson.
8. What race track could replace Baltimore if it goes down the drain? Or does Randy just pull that race because of the travelling schedule in August/September?
RM: Elkhart Lake would be my best guess but I think somebody will step in and rescue Baltimore.
9. Will the Milwaukee race ever come back to the IndyCar Series?
RM: Only if I hit the lottery and promote it or we can convince John Menard to buy the track.
10. Which new engine partner will have the better year next year; Chevy or Lotus and why?
RM: Ilmor has a lot of experience so it would appear Chevy could have the edge but I’d never count out Honda and John Judd could be the sleeper.
11. Did Roger Penske do the wrong move in keeping Ryan Briscoe?
RM: No, I don’t think so. Briscoe is still as quick as anybody, just had some terrible luck and made a couple mistakes on top of that. But I think The Captain will go after Graham Rahal for 2013.
12. Is 2012 Helio Castroneves’ final year in racing?
RM: Not necessarily. Depends on if he gets back to his Indy 500 prowess that’s been missing the past two Mays. That’s what Penske cares about most.
13. Will the Cleveland GP ever make a return to the IndyCar Series calendar, if so does Randy take the risk of running the proposed 1 mile oval layout also.
RM: Mike Lanigan wants to do it but only if he gets a big time title sponsor. A doubleheader would be cool but possibly a logistical nightmare.
14. Is going to China a bad move for IndyCar?
RM: Not at all. The sanction fee is huge and maybe it can attract some sponsorship over here.
15. What do you think the final schedule will look like?
RM: No clue until we find out about the ovals.
I want to say thank you to Robin Miller for doing this enjoy!