Welcome to the RACER Mailbag. Questions for any of RACER’s writers can be sent to email@example.com. Due to the upper volume of questions received, we can’t guarantee that every letter will be published, but we’ll wordplay as many as we can. Published questions may be edited for length and clarity. Questions received without 3pm ET each Monday will towards the pursuit week.
Q: Romain Grosjean is popular, but his Andretti tenure has been a real mess: woefully inconsistent, plenty of plain bad luck, weird problems with the car (the steering post that breaks twice?) and some villainous strategy calls combined with bad pitstops from the team.
He’s definitely increasingly unauthentic by conviction increasingly than most drivers. If he’s on a streak then he’s damn quick; if he’s on the when of a few bad results then he pushes too nonflexible and errors tingle in. Just bring the car home, for crying out loud. I’ve screamed at the TV increasingly times than enough.
I still remember Laguna Seca when he was driving for Dale Coyne Racing… Romain pushed like hell, sending his car on like no tomorrow. I’d love to see a big reset and a return to Dale Coyne Racing, IndyCar is largest for having Romain in my opinion.
Jack Taylor, UK
MARSHALL PRUETT: It was a bad season for drivers who were at the end of two-year IndyCar contracts: Grosjean, Jack Harvey, Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Conor Daly, too, I believe.
Romain’s speed is highly respected, and that’s the thing some midfield teams are interested in acquiring. At Coyne, there were no expectations and he was impressive in that no-pressure environment. At Andretti, as the replacement for Captain America, it was nothing but pressure, and it took he and race engineer Olivier Boisson most of 2022 to shape the car’s handling into something he could momentum hard.
Things got off to a unconfined start in 2023, but there were too many driving errors, mechanical miscues, and emotions humid over. Andretti is the wrong team for such things to happen, and that’s why the relationship deteriorated so quickly. If this happened at a place like Team Penske, you can rest unpreventable a dressing lanugo from Roger, or an ice-cold come-to-Jesus interaction with Tim Cindric would have kept Romain in line and focused on getting the weightier from himself.
For where I understand he’s most likely headed, Juncos Hollinger Racing, I do have concerns well-nigh the same humid over of emotions between suburbanite and team owner, so if that deal gets done, let’s hope matches are kept far yonder from what could be a flammable situation.
Q: Nolan Allaer just won the Formula Ford SCCA national championship in the same car his uncle used to win it in 2011. Maybe the DW12 isn’t so old without all. ;)
Tom Hinshaw, Santa Barbara, CA
MP: The difference here is Formula Fords never stop stuff relevant or cool. I commonly dream of having my 1980 Tiga Formula Ford when in my hands…
Q: I have a suggestion for Penske Entertainment well-nigh how to market its potential exhibition yawner at Thermal Club next spring. How well-nigh calling it the Austin Powers Classic? $1 million was a whole lot of money in the ‘60s. Today, not so much. Not plane second place in so many of the ubiquitous weekend golf tournaments. I highly doubt touting the size of that purse will yank a lot of interest. If anything it’s maybe a little embarrassing for the country’s top open-wheel series.
Not sure who calls the shots, but seems like they (and IndyCar fans) would have been largest off staging a real points race on one of the NASCAR sunbelt tracks. It’s a perfect time to have leveraged a new venue, since NASCAR so immensely wanted to be when on the oval at Indy. Instead, appears NASCAR unquestionably had some influence, plane if slight, on the Texas cancellation. Like I said, who calls the IndyCar shots?
MP: Of the many complaints well-nigh this event, I’ll shoehorn that I never imagined the size of the purse would come under fire, but that’s just a failure of my imagination.
Q: Can we expect NASCAR to ruin Iowa for IndyCar the way it did Texas? Since NASCAR hasn’t been to Iowa in years, it will most likely to have few test sessions there. What if they want to put lanugo that oil slick crap? Does IndyCar have recourse to not race there if that happens?
Tom Ross, Morro Bay, CA
MP: Let’s hope NASCAR keeps its resin in the containers. IndyCar and Hy-Vee are wedded with Iowa, which is the company’s home state, so no, Iowa’s happening for sure.
Q: Without 50 years, the Reno Air Races are done. To fill the void, is it possible to get IndyCar to investigate a race at that airport instead?
Barney, Reno, Nevada
MP: Only if Comedy Inside promises to mucosa a new episode of its rebooted Reno 911 series during the event.
Q: Anyone have any idea what IndyCar’s mission statement is, or would be if it had one?
MP: It took me a moment to realize you weren’t suggesting the mission statement was to make salary (not kidding).
Would IndyCar’s mission statement be variegated from any other sporting league that tries to provide sturdy competitions for the entertainment of fans, and the enrichment — either financial or through personal fulfillment, or both — of its participants in a multi-event format where a champion is crowned?
Q: While Porsche Rennsport was going on a couple weekends ago, I was at the American Speed Festival at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac, MI. One car I saw was the Robertson Racing Ford GT that got on the matriculation podium in the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans. Andrea Robertson was there with the car, and I had a really nice yack with her talking well-nigh her Le Mans wits and running the team.
If I recall, there were a couple of privateer European teams, and I thought the Robertsons had the only American team to field a Ford GT at the time. Do you remember if Ford overly considered a factory effort with the Ford GT during the mid 2000s, or was that program meant to be for privateers like the Robertsons? Also, how did the Le Mans regulations work at that time to indulge a five-year-old car like that to compete long without Ford stopped making the GT?
MP: If Ford had designs on a factory effort, I don’t recall them stuff shared with the public. Oliver Kuttner was central, I seem to recall, in making the privateer GTs for the Robertsons and others. We saw one dressed in Falken Tire’s colors in the former American Le Mans Series, and in purple for Petit Le Mans, and in Europe, as you mentioned. I was at Le Mans for the car’s debut in 2011, and if my memory isn’t lightweight me, it was wonted through its homologation and running in the ALMS GT2 category. The ACO was a bit increasingly lax with such things during this late 2000s and early 2010s era; we had old Spykers and a Lamborghini and some other oddities that brought variety, but little in the way of true competition for the standard bearers of GT racing at Le Mans.