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Friday, July 12, 2024

Miller would have a field day with today’s IndyCar series

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The old adage about how time flies is something that can’t be debated. Life is so short, and it seems impossible to me that the music stopped for the dean of motorsports writers just one year ago this week.

Yes, the world of open-wheel racing was better with one Robin Miller calling it the way he saw it, and while he was cantankerous, his opinions were generally spot on.

I often ask myself what my friend and quasi mentor would think about the current state of affairs in the NTT IndyCar Series and how much grief he would be giving people for what he thought was wrong.

Clearly, he’d be all over those who represent defending IndyCar champion Alex Palou for guaranteeing him (wink) they could get him out of the final year of his contract with Ganassi Racing and put him behind the wheel for the Arrow McLaren entry next season.

He’d also lambast Chip Ganassi for not tearing up Palou’s contract after he won the championship and extend his deal with a healthy raise.

Both factions would feel his wrath simultaneously in typical Miller fashion, with no hesitation and without a filter.

There’d also be no mercy shown for those who continue to champion the cause of street courses that allow little room for overtaking and showcase parties and musical talent as a substitution. He’d marvel at how Nashville, Tennessee, has embraced IndyCar, but then candidly point out it was still NASCAR country.

He’d talk about the Knoxville Nationals and the Chili Bowl, and then how he wanted to see Kyle Larson drive the Indy 500 for Penske and Chevrolet.

Last weekend’s race in the St. Louis market would’ve been a split decision in his book, taking solace in David Malukas’ splendid dash to second place, while lamenting about the number of passes for positions being sparse.

He’d love the fact that there are five drivers with a legit shot of winning the points title with just two races left, and then remind us all that it’s once again Penske vs. Ganassi.

While I miss the guy with a heart the size of a compact car, I have all the great aforementioned memories and then some. I just need him to call me a simpleton one more time and then make fun of my wardrobe as he offered me some snacks from his work area in the IMS media center.

That’s the Miller I knew, a guy who lived IndyCar and understood more about the people involved in it than anyone else possibly could.

Some called him a lightning rod, but in reality he was exactly what the sport needed.

Please join me this week remembering the curmudgeon, and for those of you who didn’t know him well, I can assure you, we’ll never see the likes of one Robin Lee Miller again.

Danny Bridges, who’d give up Italian food and ice cream for one more conversation about the good old days of racing with Miller, can be reached at 317-370-8447 or at bridgeshd@aol.com.

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