My 8 year-old daughter Saris is a budding IndyCar fan, and earlier, she provided us with her INDYCAR season preview. Today, we share another Q&A, in which she shares her thoughts on this year's Indy 500.
OK, Saris, it's close to bedtime while we're writing this, so let's make it quick. What was the biggest surprise for you on either Pole Day or Bump Day?
Saris: No Hondas in the Top 9. I thought we would see one.
Did you expect to see Sato leading the championship race coming into Indy?
Saris: If Sato wins the championship, it will have to be a family holiday! I didn't expect him to see him leading the points, because he had never won a race in IndyCar coming into this season.
Can he win Indy this year?
Saris: I'd hope so.
What about the Honda engines?
Saris: That's not as important as pit crew and not crashing.
Which driver winning would get the biggest cheers in our house?
Saris: Well, Lilly and I want Pippa. Mommy wants Will Power to win, because she has a driver crush and everybody knows it.
Yeah, we covered that last time. Your brother would want Scott Dixon, I suppose.
Saris: Very true.
What was the best part of going to the track this year for you?
Saris: Seeing all the drivers, like JR Hildebrand and Josef Newgarden.
What's the best-looking car in this year's 500?
Saris: I really like the Turbo car that Townsend Bell has!
Me, too. What are the best colors for an Indy 500 car design, if you were sponsoring a car?
Saris: Red, black, and white.
Like Will Power's car, or something different?
Saris: Something different. Like, a different company, with red, blue, black, and white.
You have totally lost me. Are you adding colors?
Saris: I don't know. I'll have to read what I wrote later.
So what number would you run, and why?
Saris: 24, because I just like that number.
OK, time to make the big prediction. Who will win this race, and why?
Saris: Hinch. He's won twice this year.
Yeah, but street courses are different from ovals.
Saris: Well, I'M SURE HE'S FIGURED THAT OUT.
Har. OK, well, then who's your Super-Secret Underdog Pick?
Saris: Oriol Servia. Or maybe Graham Rahal.
You think Graham can pull it off?
Saris: I think so. He's a Rahal.
What would be your words of advice for all the rookies in this field making their first 500 start?
Saris: Well, besides not crashing, I'd say go fast, have the best pit crew, and finish in front of everyone else.
You make it sound so easy.
Saris: Yes, I do.
Should I tell Roger Penske you're looking for work?
Saris: Maybe, maybe not.
You'd make a heck of a race strategist.
Saris: What's a strategist?
It's someone who figures out how a race should go.
Saris: I knew that.
Is this year's race going to be as good as last year's race?
Saris: I think this year is better, because it's quite a competition! Plus, this year, I know more about what's going on, which helps.
Anything you want to say to the fans or drivers before we close this out?
Saris: For the fans, yell loud! For the drivers, behave and watch your mouth on the radio.
Good advice. I'm sure one of those groups will follow it. Enjoy the race, daughter!
Saris: I'm serious. Those drivers better follow it, or they've got something coming.
OK, Mini-Barfield. We're done here.