OP-Ed – RE: Miller, Chicago, and Scariness

Robin Miller has long been known as an antagonist and rabble-rouser in American Open-Wheel Racing, but now he’s gone too far. In his article, Miller’s Post-Chicago Notebook at SpeedTV.com, he calls the current oval-racing product from the IndyCar Series “suicidal.”

Personally, that inescapable pack racing scares the hell out of me because of the reality of what can happen. … Indy car racing should be challenging and dangerous, just not suicidal. — Robin Miller

Three-wide practice at Indianapolis
Three-wide practice at Indianapolis
Are you serious, Robin? This isn’t some soapbox derby. This is IndyCar Racing! This top level of American Open-Wheel racing! This is what motorsports is about! There’s a reason why Ernest Hemingway said that the only three true sports were motorsports, bull fighting, and mountaineering. All three of these, when done properly are scary as hell. It’s in part why we watch. Personally, I love watching drivers and riders push themselves and their machines into doing feats of speed that even if I had the skill (which I dont’), I wouldn’t have the cajones to try. Rally America driver Ken Block recently made a statement that every professional driver has that’s worth a damn already knows:

You know, the two-pass recce [reconnaissance] is becoming more and more important, and when you’re really pushing in an event, it scares the shit out of you. If you’re not scared, you’re not going fast enough. And, then I’ve got to learn when I need to push and when I don’t need to push – and learn to be smart about the racing. That’s all really new for us. — Ken Block

Even with the reality in mind that high-speed oval racing is inherently dangerous and should scare the hell out of both drivers and fans, lets take a look at the incidents that have happened this season. Vitor Miera suffered a broken back during an incident between him and Raphael Matos in Turn 1 at Indianapolis, and Will Power and Nelson Phillipe suffered significant injuries in their Turn 3a incident at Sonoma. Both of these incidents were tragic and unfortunate, but the race at Indianapolis happened before the changes in the aero regulations that allowed for the return of close racing, and Sonoma is a road course. Neither of these happened on a 1.5-mile oval.

I’m not alone in my assessment of this situation, either. Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee discussed this very thing on their radio show and podcast Trackside. I’m not shy about saying they agree with me, either. Quite frankly, I think Robin Miller is just not happy unless he’s complaining about something. By the way, if you’re not a regular listener of Curt and Kevin, you should be! Its by far the best IndyCar show on the air. To the naysayers and squeamish, if Chicago and Kentucky were uncomfortable for you to watch, IndyCar racing is not for you and more’s the pity. For the rest of us speed junkies, it’s great to see that the league has brought back great racing to the series we all love.

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6 Thoughts to “OP-Ed – RE: Miller, Chicago, and Scariness

  1. Very good comments in this article Doug. I agree 100%. Were the drivers themselves not complaining about the previous product of single file racing? There is nothing suicidal about this style of high speed and high traffic racing. The more serious oval accidents we have had this year were before these new aero regs. People nearly died because of the accidents. The IndyCar series tub is strong and made to sustain the kind of impacts this style of racing provide. Robin has never been happy about anything at all and now that the racing product and championship are doing well as a whole, he now finds a new reason to complain. How about you not worry about the great on track product and report on directv and versus or something that deserves complaining. The product is supported by the fans, you have single file racing that bores the hell out of people then and the product fails. You liven it up and bring the fans back and the business has a better chance of survival. I see no problem with anything going on in terms of the on track product. Robin is wrong once again. Respect his opinion but dont have to agree.

  2. This is something I wanted to hit on in the podcast last night, but I forgot.

    Robin wouldn’t stop bashing the boring oval racing early in the season, laying the blame at the feet of the old dalarra chassis, too much downforce, not enough HP, too many Georges in charge, Art Bell and not enough sprint car drivers in the series.

    Now that the IndyCar series has moved back towards an oval package similar to what they had in the past, Robin can’t manage to keep his piehole from flapping about how awful it is.

    To quote a favorite movie, “Why don’t you pull your lips over your head and swallow”. Grumpy Old Men

  3. Peter

    Meira got together with Raphael Matos at Indy, not Mario Moraes. Moraes got together with Marco Andretti on lap one.

  4. Great point Peter. Completely did not catch that when I read it. I remember that too because i was pretty mad that Marco was out after one lap. Doug must of been fuming when he wrote this because he usually gets the details spot on. Still upset at his boy Mutoh probably. 🙂 Welcome to the site!

  5. There we go. All fixed

  6. Yeah, my mistake. Shaun was right, I was fuming a bit about the “its too scary” business. oh, and Shaun, leave my boy Hideki alone. He rocks!

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