Archive for October, 2021

The Mailbag Lives On

Posted in IndyCar on October 25, 2021 by Oilpressure

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Last Wednesday, Racer.com posted an article announcing that a new version of Robin Miller’s Mailbag would return on Wednesday November 3. When I read that, I began to visualize the outrage of some fans, while others will be overjoyed.

IndyCar fans are very passionate about our sport. Sometimes they are a little too passionate – especially when there is a death involved. Most know that my mantra in life is Change is Bad, but I also realize when it is time to leave things in the past.

I remember when Tom Carnegie passed away in February of 2011, IMS officials thought it would be a nice tribute to have Carnegie’s booming voice announce the first few qualifying runs. I’ll admit, it was nostalgic to hear that famous “…and heeee’s on it” bellowing through the PA over the massive grounds. But after a few times, it felt like it had served its purpose. I guess Speedway officials thought the same thing because they stopped ding it after three or four runs. Fans were not happy and I remember seeing concerted efforts on social media to have the track play Carnegie’s voice at the start of every qualifying run indefinitely.

I remember when Jim Nabors announced that the 2014 race would be his last to sing (Back Home Again in) Indiana, and then passed away in 2017. Upon his death, fans thought that rather than have forgettable acts like Straight, No Chaser or alleged singers like Josh Kaufman sing the famous song just before the race – that it would be better to play a recording of Jim Nabors each and every year until the end of time. Seriously? While I loved hearing that familiar baritone voice each year prior to 2014, I thought it was time to find someone new, once Nabors hung up his microphone. Fortunately, Jim Cornelison stepped in for the 2017 race with his own unique version, and he has done it ever since. I am hoping he will continue to do it for the next twenty years or so.

Although it was not a huge surprise, racing fans were devastated when Robin Miller passed away in August. Not only was he a bigger-than-life personality that fans will miss, his weekly mailbag on Racer.com had become a Wednesday morning staple for years. He didn’t just answer fans questions – he wrote in the same gruff, plain-spoken manner he used in everyday conversations. When you read his replies, you could imagine the tone of voice used, especially when someone would write in asking when IndyCar would ever return to Michigan – or something along those lines.

Now Racer.com is going to revive the Mailbag in a couple of weeks, calling it the RACER Mailbag. They will continue to run it on the very familiar Wednesday morning and it will be in the same format with various Racer writers and guests, but most of the time – it will be Marshall Pruett answering the bulk of the questions.

Personally, I’m happy about this.

Robin Miller had an online mailbag since I started getting online in the nineties. Every day, I would check the IndyStar website to see if there were updates. It wasn’t on a weekly schedule then, it was updated sporadically with just a few questions – sometimes only one or two.

When Miller was unceremoniously fired from The Star in 2001, Curt Cavin took over the mailbag and did a fine job with it. His responses were sometimes a little softer than what Miller might have said, but his answers and information were spot-on. Miller continued doing his own Mailbag at ESPN, SPEED and then Racer.com giving IndyCar fans two great sources for information and entertainment.

Readers of this site have asked me how I come up with topics three times a week, even during the offseason. Sometimes it’s a struggle, but if I couldn’t think of a topic – I could always go to Robin Miller’s mailbag and usually come up with something there to write about.

I fear that some will be angered that the Mailbag continues and will see it as a sign of disrespect. As the article points out, this is what Robin wanted. On the flipside, there are probably those that would prefer seeing re-prints from Mailbags of twenty years ago.

Robin Miller didn’t invent the Mailbag concept. He may have had the first one for IndyCar fans, but this was not original to him. Curt Cavin proved twenty years ago that the Mailbag can flourish, even though Robin Miller cannot put his unique spin on it.

IndyCar fans need a centralized place where they can go for direct answers to their questions, without having to log in to TrackForum. Robin Miller’s Mailbag provided that for decades, and the RACER Mailbag will continue to do that while not trying to replace Robin Miller. No one can do that.

George Phillips

Another Curious Decision

Posted in IndyCar on October 22, 2021 by Oilpressure

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As hard as it is to believe, we are four weeks into the offseason for the NTT IndyCar Series. In those four weeks, I have already written two different posts involving Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLLR). Today is the second time this week I’ve written about the team operated by the 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner and the three-time CART champion. One might think I am either obsessed with RLLR or have a vendetta against the team. I’ll assure you that neither is the case, but they have been in the news lately – so I thought I would offer up my thoughts on the latest headlines generated by the team, if anyone is interested.

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Be Careful What You Wish For

Posted in IndyCar on October 20, 2021 by Oilpressure

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With a few IndyCar seats to be filled for the 2022 season, there seems to be a lot of buzz going around regarding a very tired and worn-out topic – Will [Driver X] leave IndyCar for the greener pastures of Formula One?

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Did Jack Harvey Make the Right Move?

Posted in IndyCar on October 18, 2021 by Oilpressure

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As much as I enjoy this site, it was good to have some time away. As I mentioned last Friday, a lot of last week was devoted to spending time with my son, who flew in from Idaho to pick up my old 2012 Honda Civic so he could drive it back. He arrived on Tuesday and stayed until Friday.

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It’s Fall Break For Some, But Not All

Posted in IndyCar on October 8, 2021 by Oilpressure

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The 2021 IndyCar Series finished less than two weeks ago. You would think teams and drivers would be scattering to parts unknown, for what could be known as Fall Break. That has not been the case, however. Teams are making driver announcements; either regarding who is leaving their team or who is joining it. Some drivers are even turning laps this week, in preparation for 2022.

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Johnson’s Indianapolis 500 Quest Starts Today

Posted in IndyCar on October 6, 2021 by Oilpressure

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I usually try to make it a point to listen to Trackside when it airs live, as opposed to downloading the podcast to listen in the car. The trouble with that is, they jump around a lot. The show normally airs on Tuesday nights from 7:00 to 9:00 Eastern, but they sometimes air on Wednesday nights or even Thursday nights. A lot depends on Butler basketball, the Pacers or some other scheduling conflict. They may also put it an hour later. It just depends. It’s always been that way since they started the show back in 2008 (I believe), so most longtime and frequent listeners are used to this. Whenever there is a question, I always check Kevin Lee’s Twitter feed (@KevinLee23). He’s usually very good in keeping us apprised of the schedule.

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How Do You Rate the 2021 IndyCar Season?

Posted in IndyCar on October 4, 2021 by Oilpressure

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I have a former co-worker and good friend that texted me over the weekend, named Chris. Chris retired over a year ago. Like most former co-workers. We went from seeing each other practically every day, to a semi-annual lunch at our favorite Chinese restaurant. Chris has been a lifelong Formula One fan, but became somewhat of an IndyCar fan mainly through this site.

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