RACER Mailbag, September 21

Welcome to the RACER mailbag. Questions for any of the RACER writers can be sent to mailbag@racer.com. Due to the huge amount of questions received, we cannot guarantee that every letter will be published, but we will answer as many questions as possible. Posted questions can be edited for length and clarity. Questions received after 3 PM ET will appear every Monday of the following week.

Q: It was reported last week that IndyCar drivers don’t do cake anymore. I never missed an IndyCar race at Road America and I can never remember a winner who didn’t put some huge rubber in Turn 5 for the crowd. I’m pretty sure every NASCAR winner has also put in a show there, as Ty Gibbs set the standards for cake and exhaustion when he carried halfway up the hill to Turn 6 after winning this year’s Xfinity. There’s no shortage of donuts at Turn 5 at Road America – the Turn 5 Run off area would probably be called “The Donut Shop!”

Craig, Slinger, WI (yes, that Slinger with the infamous short track)

MP: Well, since IndyCar didn’t do it, I’ll do it myself, Craig:

Rule, Post-Race Vehicle Celebrations: According to international standards, the winner of each NTT IndyCar Series race must perform at least five (5) laps made by intentionally spinning the rear tires at a speed well above the speed of the rear tires In order to produce large amounts of smoke from the rear tires. Failure to do so in a manner that satisfies the rally crowd will result in a $25,000 fine and a loss of 25 points for drivers and subscribers.

Q: As a longtime Swedish IndyCar fan, I’m thrilled that the late evenings and nights spent watching IndyCar races have had not one, but two, and the stars aligning with 2023, three of his countrymen in the series.

From this side of the pond it looks as if IndyCar racing is up and up here too, no doubt backed by F1 drivers (Magnussen, Alonso, Grosjean and Ericsson) and strong F2 drivers like Lundgaard. While I miss Rockingham and Lausitzring, I don’t have any hope of racing series in Europe anytime soon (and neither should Mexico get the race first!), but I’m eager to see how much IndyCar management cares about Europe when planning ITS races, When should the green flag be raised, and things like that? Is Europe part of the talk at all, or is it just a happy little coincidence that most races start at a time convenient for most Europeans?

John A

MP: Somewhere in between almost nothing and not at all, John. I know the new IndyCar schedule lacks domestic conflicts with the 12 Hours of Sebring and internationally with the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but beyond that, I’m not aware of any other efforts being made to plan the North American Series calendar around proper timing to watch or no clashes with events International.

Q: Do you have any idea about Scott Dixon’s alternate racing line at Laguna Seca? The NBC broadcast mentioned her several times, with a great view of her from Colton Hertha next. Did Dixon have to drive differently because of the worn tires? Or does he think he found a better racing streak for the day?

Second, do you have an idea why people still can’t pronounce Alex Ballou’s name correctly? Dixon nicknamed him “Baloo” in his post-race interview on NBC, and someone on Dixie Radio called him “Baloo” after the race. He looks especially awful from two people on his team. Any idea if it bothers Alex?

Mike Brookmer

MP: From what I saw on that camera, Dixie’s car was quite a handful. I wouldn’t describe it for a moment as an alternative racing line; The car was a mess.

Palou pronounces Dixon’s first name “Skoht,” rather than “Skawtt,” but I don’t see that as an intentional insult. Heck, my last name is “Proo-it” or “Proo-et” most of the time, or “Pure-rett” for those who get really confused. I think if it really mattered to Alex, he put Dixon and Mike Hall in the right place.

Q: How much does a promoter have to pay for the NTT IndyCar series just to show up and race? Do penalty fees differ when it comes to the type of track? For example road and street courses versus an oval? I also wonder if Road to Indy races came as a package deal when promoters sign on to host an NTT IndyCar Series race?

David Coquette

MP: It’s hard to say, because every negotiation is different. It’s not like there’s a price list with the Oval, Road Course, and Street Course listed for track owners and promoters to choose from and then add some sides with Indy Lights, Stadium Super Trucks, and parachute anthem singers. I know that Monterey County is paying $1.5 million for the IndyCar hosting franchise, as that number was announced. Also consider events that IndyCar/Penske promotes or operate as an entity that leases the track, such as Iowa, to run its own show. I’m not trying to be vague – there is no single answer to any of them.

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