The RACER Mailbag, 12 June

Welcome to the RACER Mailbag. Questions for any of RACER's writers can be sent to We love hearing your comments and opinions, but letters that include a question are more likely to be published. Questions received after 3pm ET each Monday will appear the following week.

Q: I never need to see another race at the Detroit street circuit ever again. The person who came up with the idea to replace Belle Isle with that monstrosity needs to find a new line of work. It has all of the pitfalls of Monaco and none of the charm.

If you were designing a track with the intention of producing a race with an even split between green flag and caution laps, what would you change? I'm straining to think of anything.

I can't think of a worse (or more predictable) way to lose any potential ratings momentum from one of the greatest Indy 500s in history than what we saw in Detroit.

Andrew, northern Virginia

MARSHALL PRUETT: I hope this layout isn't what greets the series seven days after the next Indy 500. It did have 600,000 people who watched on USA, which is tons better than the 300,000 who watched Long Beach on USA.

Q: Dear IndyCar,

There are lots of complaints in the Mailbag. I’ve got quite a few in mind right now related to Detroit and things that happened after Detroit, but that’s not what this is about. Things aren’t all bad and the sky is not falling.

I’m in my 40s and I have an 11-year-old son. He made his first trip to IMS for the Grand Prix weekend seven years ago. I think mostly he just liked seeing the cars. I don’t think we were able to stay even for the IndyCar race before he wanted to go home. He enjoyed rolling up and down the spectator mounds that day between races. He’s been to Detroit (the Stadium Super Truck series was his favorite and he got to sit in one of the trucks), Mid-Ohio, Iowa, and IMS for the 500. Why waste so much space in the Mailbag telling you these things? I’m obviously a big fan and I’ve dragged my kid around trying to turn him into one as well.

Please allow me to explain why 2024 was the first time I took my son to an IndyCar race as an IndyCar fan. In 2022 we left the 500 about halfway through. He was done and nothing I could do would change his mind. In 2023 we made it to the second red flag, but before that the most important part of the weekend was shopping for souvenirs. He would scout out the field a little bit to see what diecast car he would want to get. Often he was ready to head home before the race was over (or before it started) because he wanted to play with whatever it was we got that day.

In 2023 I watched 100 Days to Indy, but watching TV in a timeslot isn’t what kids do. He had no interest at the time. Recently 100 Days to Indy dropped on Netflix. I think my son has seen it at least half a dozen times by now. Instead of talking about whether he wanted a Newgarden or a Rahal diecast this year (he ended up getting Pato), he kept telling me about IndyCar. Did I know about the father and son who have won the 500? Did I know that Tony Kanaan has two racing simulators at home? Did I know this or that about Mario Andretti? Everything from 100 Days to Indy stuck and it hooked a next-generation fan. This year we had our own countdown to Indy. That’s normally saved for our Labor Day weekend family trip, but this year the excitement he had for the 500 was almost too much.

Now he’s asking me when Season 2 will be out. I know it is on the CW app, but he wants it on Neflix. I told him it was coming 'soon.' I’m not sure if he thinks it’ll be different when it gets there, but he’s looking forward to it. So, while I’ve written way too many words and taken up way too much space, I wanted to say thank you for making a fan out of my son. 100 Days to Indy was a massive hit for at least one of the generation of fans you’re trying to reach.

Ryan, West Michigan

MP: That's everything IndyCar could hope for. The biggest thing that could happen to IndyCar is for the budding relationship with Netflix — one that's been developed on its behalf by The CW — to take off and become a bigger thing so more sons and daughters and people of all ages get their first taste of the series.

IndyCar has been an amazing product for longer than I've been alive. I've been fortunate to have seen it first as a fan, and then as a crew member at its modern peak when the CART IndyCar Series ruled the country as its most popular racing series. And we've seen it fall back and into NASCAR's shadow. And we've recently seen it fall behind F1 at home. But the quality of the racing product and the people in the paddock who make IndyCar special has never been in doubt.

While sitting in those shadows, the decades-long struggle has been to get people to notice and care about the series. IndyCar is waiting to have its WNBA moment where a beloved but under-the-radar sporting league gets a giant boost to bring it forward. Netflix has that power.