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Monday, November 12
Updated: November 15, 10:35 AM ET
Robin Miller answers user mail
Check out what questions RPM.ESPN.com users had for Robin Miller -- and Robin's answers.
Why don't we see any F1 drivers in the IROC series? Because that is one place Michael Schumacher would lose?
Robin Miller: When IROC was truly the international race of champions, James Hunt, Graham Hill, Emerson Fittipaldi, etc., did compete and there were road courses and ovals. Can't do it today -- logistics and contracts. No way. IROC is a joke, a NASCAR benefit -- all on their ovals. What a bore.
To put the IRL vs. CART competition to bed, wouldn't it be more viable for CART to go global and compete with F1? CART already races outside the U.S. regularly, and the globe could probably support two major open-wheel series easier than the U.S. could.
Robin Miller: CART needs to have a presence in the U.S. to keep its sponsors happy. Yes, Germany and Australia had huge crowds and Japan is over 60,000 and England has growth potential with more reasonable ticket prices but you've got to succeed at home too. Milwaukee needs a makeover and it could again be packed, while Cleveland, Long Beach, Elkhart Lake and Mid-Ohio all draw quite well. Laguna needs to go away and Mid-Ohio needs a face lift because it's become a bad race with great fans. Watkins Glen would be ideal.
Is the delay in Penske announcing that he is moving to the IRL a ploy to try and get sponsorship for his CART team next year. It is apparent in his comments that Marlboro wants their logo on a car in the 500 and could care less about CART's worldwide appeal because of their sponsorship of Ferrari in F1. I would think that Penske's contacts and appeal would make it easier for them to land a sponsorship if they want, despite the hardships other teams may face in trying to land "big buck" sponsors.
Robin Miller: If Penske can't find a sponsor, then they don't exist but he won't be in CART in 2002. Might return in 2003 (that's the only way he'll keep Castroneves and de Ferran).
1. Any news about Billy Boat, and what his plans are for 2002? I'd heard a rumor that he and Greg Beck had split. I always thought Billy was a rather high-quality shoe, and very impressive in 2001 given his team's small budget.
2. Rumors have been floating around about Penske fielding a
Marlboro-sponsored IRL team and maybe a Miller or
Mobil 1 sponsored CART team for 2002. Given de Ferran's comments about
"defending" his championship, does that mean he and Castroneves remain in
CART, and if so, who'll drive for Penske in the IRL?
Robin Miller: Boat and Beck have split and Billy is trying to put his own deal together. Penske will run both guys in the IRL under Marlboro colors -- at least that's what I've been reporting.
I can't believe what's happening to CART -- is this the beginning of the merger -- my real question is, why don't the drivers and teams do more commercials for the sponsors and the races. CART seems to me to be kind of elitist and I believe that's their downfall. Money talks and BS. walks and it looks like CART's walking.
Janet K. Turner
Rancho Cordova, Calif.
Robin Miller: FedEx has done NOTHING to promote the series or drivers and that could be a big bonus. Only Toyota, Honda, Firestone and Target do anything in the way of marketing drivers and that is one of CART's largest eyesores. It's up to the sponsors to help promote their own and CART also needs to take some of its $140 million and do some TV ads.
Do you still think Dale Jr. got the call at Daytona after dominating and winning Talladega? Long live Penske.
Robin Miller: Again, it looked like he had more horsepower than anyone else but not quite as obvious as Daytona.
Robin, what was your best finish in a midget? The best I ever saw you run was dead last. Is there any truth to what you said a few weeks ago,that that Penske NASCAR is going to run a Dodge in 2002?
Robin Miller: I think my best finish ever was a sixth in USAC and a fourth in an outlaw show in Macon, Ill. I crashed a lot and dropped out of many races because I was a terrible mechanic. My best day came at the Hut Hundred in 1980 when I qualified fifth out of 70-some and dueled with Johnny Parsons and Sleepy Tripp for third place until my engine pitched.
A.J. Foyt told me Penske would be in a Dodge next year. And a Toyota by 2003.
Just wanted to briefly say how much I enjoy your comments and insights on the events in the world of auto racing. YOU ROCK!
My question: I've been a huge Christian Fittipaldi fan ever since he
finished second at Indy in '95. I followed his uncle during his days in CART as well and have been waiting for Christian to have the same success as Emo but it just hasn't
happened. I thought for years it was having Michael as a teammate and
getting "second best" at Newman/Haas. I was really expecting big things
this year but he has struggled. Any insight on why Christian hasn't really
became an elite driver in CART? Also, is he back in the No. 11
car for Newman/Haas next year?
Robin Miller: Good question. Christian has moments of brilliance but more mediocre performances than you would think. I really don't know -- he had such promise coming out of F3000. I believe he will return with Newman/Haas, yes.
Any open wheel guys actively looking for a competitive NASCAR seat?
Robin Miller: Kenny Brack wants to run Daytona and Casey Mears is headed for Busch.
I have heard some F1 drivers have had wrist problems because of the paddle shifters is this true? What is the advantage to the paddle shifter over the standard one?
Also, How will CART gain any fans in Europe Since the new F1 Primer Cars
will be V10 N/A with around 750HP. And CART will run with a low tech IRL
Robin Miller: Can't answer the paddle question, I wish they all had to shift like champ cars. CART's two races in England and Germany gained them thousands of new fans because the races were very good.
I am a new race fan and need your help about open wheel racing. I know it has been a few year, but what happened between the CART and IRL? I watch both leagues and I like CART better. The cars and drivers is why I like it. Is it the people running the leagues making this problem? By what I see there is something about Tony George I don't like. I can be wrong. Then again Roger Penske is also a tough man. And the last question is are both leagues going to be one league? Thank you for your time and I enjoy your input on RPM2Night. Get up the great work.
Coral Springs, Fla.
Robin Miller: CART's greed, egos, bad decisions coupled with Tony George's ego and bad advice has crippled open wheel racing. It was at its zenith in 1995 and now the two series are struggling mightily. There is no cure at the moment and can't be any unification until CART goes private. Thanks for watching.
With CART's old ladder system from Indy Lights to Indy Cars, why didn't CART create an Indy Lights Series using 1 or 2 year old CART cars with Buick engines, such as the European BOSS Series formula? This would give the drivers CART car experience, a reduced cost chassis, added income for the CART teams and they could use all of their support equipment if the team move up to CART series.
Robin Miller: That would have made too much sense.
Why is Honda and Ford making a big deal about turbocharged engines when they do not sell any turbocharged engines in the U.S., but they do sell naturally aspirated D.O.H.C engines.
Robin Miller: Because they've got a huge investment and they want to try and reap what benefits might be left from the turbo era.
Now that CART is adopting the IRL engine formula, could the chassis possibly be next? Has anyone ever tried to race an IRL car on a road course just to see how fast, or how slow, it would go?
Also, thank you for letting me take a picture with you and Marlo Klain at
Robin Miller: By 2003, Dallara, GForce, Lola and Reynard will all be building IRL chassis. No IRL road tests to my knowledge. My pleasure.
The current machinations of CART is playing to an audience very much reminiscent akin to a dodgy soap opera. Do you believe that the board, needs total restructuring? So it becomes relevant to fans and stakeholders. Finally, as Honda disappears, in 2003, quicker than cold beer in a dust storm, will sanity prevail, and the Ford option be taken? I have seen some IRL races on the box, and watching grass grow is very good alternative.
Shorncliffe, Brisbane, Australia
Robin Miller: Yes, the board needs to be blown up, CART needs to become a private company again and Chris Pook needs to be given control to run the show. The turbo option only has a couple of flag-wavers but one of them is Gerry Forsythe so it's still in play.
If CART ends up with only one engine package, do you foresee a pullout of any chassis manufacturers because of a lack of competition or because of one engine/chassis combo dominating the series?
Robin Miller: No, remember that CART was a one-engine series for most of the '80s and it didn't bother anyone.
Always loved your stuff since your days at the Star ... keep up the good work. Question: How is it that CART is able to use 'Indy' in the title for races such as Surfer's Paradise and Toronto? Is this due to some pre-split contract obligations?
Robin Miller: I think it could have been grandfathered in and, don't forget, CART did own the Indy car title for a few years before T. George took it back.
Has CART/IRL let another young star slip through their fingers? Last week at the ARCA race in Talladega I heard Casey Mears say that he was trying to put together a NASCAR Busch Series ride for 2002.
Robin Miller: Yes, sad but true, Casey is headed south for the Busch series in 2002.
How do you think CART would do at Talladega?
Robin Miller: Not good. Way too fast. They'd be running 250mph laps.
Does the IRL have any possible front runners for a new title sponsor, and how long is the contract between FedEx and CART?
Robin Miller: Nothing new for IRL yet and CART's contract might be as much as four years.
It seems so easy to figure out that maybe for CART it's too easy! CART should go back to Ford and Honda and beg forgiveness. Stick with turbo power beyond '02. Then, go get Audi or BMW to join the fray, schedule 2 or 3 races each month beginning in late February thru October, and leave May open for any team that wants to compete at Indy. Simple. Why doesn't CART get it?
Bradley Van Swol
Robin Miller: Common sense and CART don't go together. They panicked when Toyota said it wasn't coming back (Because Rahal already warned the owners that Ford was done after 2002) so it was a knee-jerk reaction. John Judd says he'll build CART engines and Toyota will provide motors for up to 15 cars. That's if the CART board ever gives them specs.
With all the problems in cart do think there is a chance that CART could fold up?
Robin Miller: If KOOL follows Marlboro and Hollywood to the IRL, it could be over. Sponsors dictate any racing series and money is tight everywhere so obviously a team will do whatever its sponsor says. Target will be the next big sponsor to defect to the IRL.
There are many fans in the Washington-Baltimore-Philadelphia corridor. As we miss Nazareth, what is your best guess of the next CART event in this area aside from Watkins Glen?
Rehoboth Beach, Del.
Robin Miller: I think The Glen is your only shot. Maybe Road Atlanta but that's a haul.
Do you want to slow the cars down? Do you want to make them safer? Do you want to see more passing?No matter the series, it seems to me aerodynamics, specifically ground effects, has way too much control over a race car's performance. Take away the spoilers, air dams and wings and raise the bottom of the car so there isn't a "vacuum" under the car. Possibly make the tires so hard that there wouldn't be any marbles out of the groove, effectively making the groove wider. Then maybe the drivers can have more influence over the outcome of a race. What do you think, Robin?
Robin Miller: Tom Sneva tried to promote that idea as the cars kept getting faster and faster but nobody embraced it. You won't be able to wipe out technology but maybe more power and smaller wings puts more of the driver back into the seat.
Robin, Best reporting in racing. Which scenario is most likely to play out for Forsthye racing? 1. He gets a new sponsor and goes to the IRL? 2. He gets the IRL to obtain oval racing in Canada? 3. He buys controlling interest in a dying series and dies with them?
Robin Miller: He may have a new sponsor for Herta next year and says he'd like to run two cars. He'll be the last guy going to the IRL. He wants to take control of CART and take it off the public market.
Why is CART still using the two-hour time limit on road courses and street races and what other racing bodies are still using this outdated system. This really get race fans upset not to see a full race. We should get a refund for unraced laps.
Robin Miller: Yes, you should. I beat on them all year for screwing the fans and nobody seems to listen. It's a farce to use timed races.
Is Chip Ganassi trying to buy Tony Stewart's contract from Joe Gibbs? Rumor has it Tony will run the full IRL schedule for Ganassi along with Daytona, Charlotte, and Indianapolis in NASCAR.
Robin Miller: Yes he is and don't be surprised if it happens by 2003.Send this story to a friend | Most sent stories