Welcome to the RACER Mailbag. Questions for any of RACER’s writers can be sent to mailbag@racer.com. Due to the high volume of questions received, we can’t guarantee that every letter will be published, but we’ll answer as many as we can. Published questions may be edited for length and clarity. Questions received after 3pm ET each Monday will appear the following week.

Q: Saw this device handed to Scott McLaughlin after winning pole at Nashville. What is this?

Also, although you print so many complaints about Peacock, I love it. At the start of each season I subscribe to Peacock — commercial-free. IndyCar, NXT, IMSA, Supercross, Tour de France… all with no commercials.


MARSHALL PRUETT: Per Penske’s Ron Ruzewski, it’s an electronics cooling device. We’re on the same page with Peacock, Ed. Whether it’s the racing content or the other pieces of entertainment, it gets used quite a bit between my wife and I.

Q: I wonder if there’s any chance to see Hemelgarn Racing again at the Indy 500, as the team still competes in USAC Silver Crown series? Or are there any other potential old or new teams for IndyCar in the next two to three years?

Frank Lehmann, Germany

MP: I’ve heard Vasser Sullivan mentioned a few times of late, but that’s about it. It would be amazing to see Ron and the Hemelgarn team back in IndyCar, but I wouldn’t associate their efforts in USAC with anything that’s brewing for the 500.

Q: Just reading that Alex Palou won’t honor his signed 2024 contract with McLaren. His Monaco Management people parted ways with him. Zak Brown is on receiving end of losing a driver this time. Court with Ganassi last year, and now this news. Alex sure doesn’t seem to have any integrity or character. I hope his career tanks.

Craig, Naples, FL

MP: Of all the things I never thought I’d write, there’s a strong James Harden vibe with Palou. Harden, who plays for the Philadelphia 76ers, is trying to force his third trade in three years, all despite signing multi-year deals with Houston, Brooklyn and now the 76ers. He’s disliked the situations he’s been in and pushed until he got what he wanted, regardless of what his contracts required him to do.

He recently opted into a $35.6 million deal for next season to guarantee he gets paid, but doesn’t want his current team to be the one to pay him that money, so he’s raising hell and attempting to engineer his way out of Philly


The best reaction I saw to the latest Palou drama was on Twitter, where someone posted a meme that read, “Honey, if they’re willing to cheat with you, they’re willing to cheat on you,” in response to Brown’s aggrieved email to the Arrow McLaren team. We’ve got a lot of Palou letters to cover, so I’ll move onto the next…

Q: I realize this is probably the 47,000th Palou email, but mine requires a little bit of a tin foil hat.

He realized the McLaren path was DOA. Smart bet would be Chip backing up the Brinks truck. But no. Michael is buying Alpine, Alex runs in Andretti IndyCar next year. Then the Andretti-GM-Renault F1 team in 2025.

Shawn, MD

MP: As I said in my pre-race silly season video on Saturday, I have it on good account that within the last few weeks, Andretti thought it was getting Palou, but I then heard he signed to stay — and for a long while — with Chip.

Q: I may be getting ahead of the game, but it could be a confusing driver lineup at MSR next year — one driver named Blomqvist and the other named Lundqvist. What about a third car for Rosenqvist?

From your reporting, Andretti/WTR is fielding two cars in GTP next year. Is the second Acura for Andretti/WTR the leased MSR chassis? If Acura drops MSR, will they return in GTD, GTP or LMP2? Will Colin Braun be given the opportunity to sign with another team, or will MSR retain his services?

Jonathan and Cleide Morris, Ventura, CA

MP: If the No. 60 MSR Acura isn’t rolled down to WTRAA after the checkered flag waves over Petit Le Mans, I’ll be very surprised. I’ve asked Acura, which doesn’t want to talk, and the same goes for MSR. The moment the Daytona penalties were announced, I had a feeling it would be a dealbreaker for the manufacturer, so we’ll see what happens here in the next two months.

Shank said on Friday that he’ll know if his team can continue in IMSA in the coming weeks, which isn’t the answer you’d give if everything was continuing as planned with the manufacturer you’ve represented for years and won a championship for in 2022. If they don’t, or assuming they change manufacturers, I hope WTRAA pulls Colin Braun over because he’s been a rocket alongside Blomqvist.

If MSR is going to race in IMSA, it would be as a paid team, most likely aligned with a manufacturer.

As for Linus, he just delivered MSR’s best result of the season with the No. 60 Honda with his run to 12th on Saturday, and in the greater Andretti/MSR universe, Lundqvist was second only to Kyle Kirkwood, who finished ninth. I think he’s given them a lot to consider for next season, and MSR isn’t expanding to three full-time cars, so if Rosenqvist is going to drive for MSR, it would need to be in the No. 60 car.