Thinking of an IndyCar Friend at Thanksgiving

Before I pass along warm wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving for everyone, I’d like to acknowledge something I was going to write about for Monday, before the whole Danica Patrick story broke.

It was reported last week that Robin Miller has been diagnosed with a treatable form of bone cancer. The prognosis sounds good, but the diagnosis still sounds terrifying. Whether you like him or don’t care for him; there is no denying that Robin Miller loves the sport of IndyCar racing and is very passionate about it. I consider him a definite friend to IndyCar.

Personally, I like Robin Miller and have always been a fan of his. He is one of those names that I’ve been hearing since I was a kid in the sixties, when my father would subscribe to The Indianapolis Star each May and have the paper mailed to our home. How could that be possible when he is only nine years older than myself? Well, he joined The Indianapolis Star in 1968 as an eighteen year-old. You may not like what he says, but there is never any doubt that he knows what he’s talking about.

I can’t count how many times that Robin Miller has tipped us off that something was going to happen. Many times, it would sound far-fetched and I would think to myself “OK, he’s gone out on a limb on this one and that’s never going to happen”. Sure enough, it would pan out exactly as he said it would.

In 2009, about three weeks ahead of time; I remember Miller saying that Tony George’s sisters were fed up watching their inheritance dwindle away as George kept propping up IndyCar and they were going to oust their own brother from the series. No one, including myself, fully believed that would ever happen. When it did just a few weeks later, it changed the entire course of the series.

That is the most memorable example of when Robin Miller has been right, but there are many more. By this point, if Miller predicted that an asteroid was on course to take out the Pagoda on December 10 – I would believe it. He is more plugged in to the IndyCar world than anyone I know of – and that includes Marshall Pruett, Tony DiZinno, David Malsher or Kevin Lee – and I have great respect for all of those IndyCar journalists.

Robin Miller is a throwback. Each May, it is not unusual to see him cavorting with Parnelli Jones, AJ Foyt or Bobby Unser – even though he is only sixty-eight and they are all in their eighties. His idol was Jim Hurtubise. To this day, he’ll usually have lunch every week with Bill Vukovich II at some local eatery in Indianapolis.

Robin Miller sits about two rows behind our new seats in the reconfigured IMS Media Center. It is there that he holds court with his cronies. He can come across as loud and bombastic, and make a lowly blogger like myself think twice before even making eye-contact with him. But like AJ Foyt, Miller can come across as gruff and cantankerous on the exterior – but I understand he has a heart of gold. I’m not going to pretend that I know Robin Miller, and I know he has no clue who I am. Over the years, I’ve carried on only two very brief conversations with him – once at the IMS Media Center about three years ago, and once in the lunch line at Pocono this past August. In both conversations, he was cordial and funny.

But now Robin Miller has a battle ahead of him. It should come as no surprise to anyone that just one day after the news was released about Miller’s condition on Thursday, that he was writing a story for about Danica Patrick’s return in next year’s Indianapolis 500 on Friday – with absolutely no mention of his disease.

Most of us are heading into a long weekend to be with family and friends, when we will be reminiscing about old times and reflecting on how thankful we are. As we reflect, take some time to say a prayer and remember Robin Miller and the struggle he faces in the coming weeks. My hope is that he’ll come through this and we will see him at full strength at all the IndyCar racetracks by next spring.

George Phillips

Please Note: Susan and I will once again be travelling to my mother’s house for Thanksgiving. She is now ninety-three, but still shows no signs of slowing down. I am obviously very thankful for that, along with so many other blessings in our lives.

As usual at this time of year, I am going to take a small break from here since I don’t care to spend Thanksgiving weekend behind a keyboard. Therefore, there will be no post here on Friday Nov 24 or Monday Nov 27. I will return here one week from today on Wednesday Nov 29. I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving weekend and I’ll see you here next Wednesday – GP

8 Responses to “Thinking of an IndyCar Friend at Thanksgiving”

  1. James T Suel Says:

    Thank for your words about Robin Miller. He is the best in the business. I can not remember when I first read or heard about Robin. Iam 67 and he has been around a long time. I’ve met him a few time at the speedway , he’s a great lover of this sport. I belive him to be the in the know guy around Indycar. Get well soon Robin we need you.

  2. billytheskink Says:

    One can truthfully say a lot of things about Robin Miller, but you cannot say he lacks genuine and overwhelming passion for our favorite sport. Come cancer, holiday, rain, sleet, snow, or armageddon, Miller’s mailbag goes up every Wednesday on like clockwork, as it has today. Here’s wishing for a full and fast recovery for Robin.

    Have a great Thanksgiving everyone.

  3. Oh Jeeze………..This hits me hard as I really like Robin Miller and I did not know until now that he has cancer. I remember reading Robin’s stuff way back in the day when we had the Star mailed to our home here in Wisconsin. Dealing with Robin is not like pushing on a rope which is very refreshing. I love his videos…….. ” brother”. Hang tough Robin as I know you will. As James wrote above, we need you.

  4. Dale Christenson Says:

    Thanks for the information about Robin, there is no a better ambassador for Indy Car racing than him. Our sport is much better having him involved.

    I hope that you and Susan have the best Thanksgiving ever. May you feel the joy of the holiday with all that are seated at your table. And, travel safe and please KEEP BLOGGING.

  5. I send my warmest regards to Robin and for a speedy recovery. Frankly, Robin Miller has bee a valued part of my IndyCar experience and has been for years. I also see Robin as one of the best ambassadors of the sport. Nobody is more passionate than Robin and there isn’t a nicer guy in the paddock. Seriously, I have seen Robin stop and speak with any and everyone who stops him for a word. He has always made me feel welcome and has even introduced me to some legends of the past he was jawing with.

    Robin is the best and gets the scoop with great insight. Also, I can’t say that I have ever disagreed with one of his takes. Maybe because he explains it so well (by the way, our guy George is good at that, too, but you did not hear that from me).

  6. Mark J Wick Says:

    Robin and I haven’t been in contact for years now, but I got to know him pretty well during my years covering the 500. He is really good for Indy and probably has a lot more influence than most, if not everybody gives him credit for.
    In the 70s he fit in really well because the sport was a lot more informal and laid back. I, for one, and please that Robin has stayed true to who he is and has still managed to stay very involved in IndyCar racing and is continuing to keep us in the loop, and often ahead of the news.
    I hope he beats this and is able to keep reporting for us for many years to come.

  7. Enjoy your family time, Susan and George.
    Get well, Mr. Miller.

  8. Thanks, George, for letting us know this horrible news about Robin Miller. I feel bad for him and hope he beats his illness. I tracked down the radio show on 1070 the Fan (appreciate the heads up George) where Robin spoke about his health. I cannot believe how upbeat he is! His positivity is catching.

    I would not be the IndyCar fan I am without Robin. I finally listened to him and attended my first race and the rest is history.

    Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.

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