Q: Is it just me or is Barber the most overrated track IndyCar visits? Every year it seems pundits, broadcasters, etc., rave about the venue, but the truth is that the races are often quite dull for television audiences. I get that the facilities are top-notch, but it doesn’t matter to the average viewer when the race is a parade with minimal wheel-to-wheel action. This year it was even more bizarre given that many teams opted for a fuel conservation strategy which meant some drivers hoarded Push-to-Pass (although it wouldn’t have helped much given Barber’s circuit layout). Even the broadcasters were practically begging Will Power to burn up his P2P time in the final laps! Is there anything that can be done to spice up the races at Barber? The lack of any hard braking zones makes competitive passes almost non-existent.
LN: It’s just you, you twit.
Q: Great to have IndyCar back, and it looks to be an interesting year. Jimmie Johnson is obviously good for the series, and a great guy, but honestly I was disappointed by his pace. Were you thinking he would be this far off the pace? I understand there is a huge difference between a Cup car and an IndyCar, but there is just as big of a difference between a Supercar and an IndyCar and McLaughlin was much faster all week. It’s only one race, but I hope to see some huge improvement.
LN: That’s why he’s doing this, you twit.
Q: It seemed like Conor Daly was poised to have a good race since he was fast in practice and qualified 10th. It seems like the same thing happened to him at Barber that typically happens to him. He is not able to keep pace and can barely stay on the lead lap. Towards the end of the radio broadcast, they talked about a conversation between Conor and his team about not being able to keep up with VeeKay even after he pitted four times. They told him flat out you’re not keeping pace. This is a recurring problem, and from what learned in the radio broadcast, it seems like ECR thinks this is a driver error. Do you think Daly is on the hot seat, and do you think ECR would make a change before the 500?
LN: I’m impressed he has pace while carrying around that dad bod despite not being a dad.
Q: Regarding Paul Tracy’s removal from many IndyCar event broadcasts. After watching Barber, are you kidding me? The insights PT has on the overall history of IndyCar and his own experiences are invaluable and make it much more interesting for the audience. I appreciate TBell and Diffey, but give me a break, no way they were ever in the trenches like P.T. Please have a word with those clowns at NBC and tell them we need more P.T, not less.
LN: Indycar has enough bloated, sweaty media running through the paddock every week.
Q: If the Music City Grand Prix is a success this year, and with the reopening of the Nashville Superspeedway, what about having a doubleheader next year? Say, race at the speedway on Friday night, and the street course Sunday afternoon with one ticket getting you into both events. This would get a much-needed oval back on the schedule. Would anyone go for this, or am I out to lunch here?
LN: We have different definitions of ‘much needed’.
Q: I am ecstatic that Santino Ferrucci is getting another shot at Indy. When he first came over to Coyne’s team I was annoyed, thinking Dale Coyne was returning to his rent-to-anyone-who-can-pay ways from the days of old. But wow, that kid showed some real talent. He appeared to leave behind the snooty antics he displayed overseas, grew up in a hurry and became a true class act. He provided thrills for us viewers, and even tickled P.T.’s fancy. I watched the Xfinity races he ran, and there was only one mention of him that I could remember. That was a waste of an opportunity on NASCAR’s part to pitch a crossover driver who has mad skills. A fledgling start-up team yielding mid-pack results is a rather impressive feat, in my opinion.
So, now he’s back… kinda. RLL must see something in him. IndyCar could benefit from him returning full-time. He needs to be in IndyCar and in a competitive ride. He has the talent, growing fanbase and seems like he has the respect of the paddock to be successful in IndyCar. My question: if Santino performs well at Indy and puts a smile on Rahal’s face, what are the odds of him getting another ride? A serious ride? I thought I heard Ganassi was scouting him, but Palou must bring more funding to the table.
LN: We have different definitions of ‘benefit’.
Q: With James Davison committing to NASCAR for the rest of 2021, do you think he’s done with driving IndyCar? If a quality ride were available, do you see him attempting the Indy 500 in the future?
LN: I sure hope so, but it depends on where Natalie Decker will be I suppose.
Q: JR Hildebrand teaches at Stanford? I had no idea. This leads me to ask a question I have always wondered about. What do IndyCar drivers do for a living in the off-season? I’m sure that the highest-paid drivers can live off of their salaries, promotions and speaking engagements, but maybe not. Didn’t A.J. Foyt own some funeral parlors, and Emmo Fittipaldi owned orange groves in Brazil? So what about drivers like Charlie Kimble, Conor Daly, Colton Herta, Dalton Kellett, Pato O’Ward and the others? Drivers like Simona and Juan Pablo and Sebastien drive in other series, but what are some of the more unusual or interesting careers that some of the second-tier and part-time drivers have? I’m not so much interested in hearing about their speaking engagements, but their non-racing professions.
LN: They’re pro athletes you twit, what do you think they do with their time off?
Q: Is IndyCar aware of just how bad its website is? I expected it to get better when Penske bought the series, but clearly it has not. I logged on trying to find qualifying results for Barber. Hours after qualifying ends, and I can’t find a starting grid anywhere. Also, the three drivers showing up on the homepage: Marco Andretti, Sebastien Bourdais, and Ed Carpenter. I get it, alphabetically they come first of drivers that will be competing this season. But wouldn’t it be a good idea to have more than one driver show up on the site that will actually be in the upcoming race?
I love the product on the track. I love the drivers when you get to see their personalities. I have questioned the leadership for at least 20 years. They are the best-looking, fastest closed-circuit cars in the world. It’s frustrating that it has been 30 years since anyone has known how to present and market them.
LN: This is what Twitter is for, you twit.