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Readers disagree with Cox article UPDATE #2 I'd like to comment on my colleague Stephen Cox's article. To begin, Cox did an excellent job establishing a premise no one can disagree with: Duno, Dr. Jack, Roth, Hattori, Vitolo, et al did in fact qualify.  You may not like it, I certainly do not, but they did meet whatever the minimum standard was for the races they participated in.  Further, as racers, albeit not terribly skilled ones, you cannot blame them.  The reader who wrote in about Vitas Geraulitis made this point.  He was by no means up to Vitas' standard, but when given the opportunity to play against one of the world's best, he jumped at it. However, as the reader also pointed out in tennis all that can really happen is a weaker player gets their behind kicked.  In racing the stakes are different. That is why sanctioning bodies must do a better job creating minimum standards for those who race.  Duno, Roth, Hattori and the bunch are simply people who want to race, and Cox is right: don't hate them.  They are doing what many of us would do if given such an opportunity.  Rather, blame the sanctioning bodies that allow them to race and look the other way when they clearly endanger others and impugn the quality of the sport.  Brian Carroccio

01/29/13 Another writes, Dear AR1.com, Fundamental flaw with Steven Cox’s article is what Tony George and the IRL did in dumbing down what it took to drive an IRL car.  My number one problem, beyond the silly all oval format, was the logic behind lowering the bar of performance as far as what it took to be fast in an IRL car.  It was thought that is what was needed to get more Americans in the sport instead of CART’s approach; improving and expanding the developmental ladder system.  Would also think Mr. Cox would have been familiar with AR1's views, which I share, on how with 100% throttle racing, a well-trained monkey could be fast.  Just because a well-trained monkey could qualify well doesn’t mean squat come race day, and whether the driver has any business being out there given the danger level of the sport.  A qualified driver means more than being fast for a handful of laps, and that’s where Mr. Cox totally loses me.  Milka Duno was perhaps the biggest embarrassment I have ever seen (didn’t get to see Dr. Jack Miller, was ignoring anything and everything Tony George at that point).  Missing from the list is Shigeaki Hattori, a driver who after spinning his car 18 times in 7 races, had his CART competition license revoked, but was able to join the IRL, and had a career best 6th at Texas, a 100% throttle race at that time.  Hattori, Duno, all anyone needs to know what the IRL represented in splitting the sport, what Tony George’s capacity to run a series ultimately proved, it was all below mediocre.  Now look where we are with the sport.  These drivers who Cox defends were not only a danger to other drivers, they were part of what ruined the sport.  So if we are going to have ride buyers, then make sure they can perform beyond qualifying day.  More so, if a series is going to claim to be premier level, you don’t make your cars the joke of the racing world as far as what it takes to race them.  IndyCars is still trying to get past that ‘joke of the race world racing car’ legacy, and would be able to if not for retaining the last remnant of IRL mediocrity, Brian Barnhart. Andy Fogiel, Lansing, MI

Dear Andy: As we stated at the end of the article, the views were that of the author, not AR1.com as a whole.  100% throttle racing breeds mediocrity.  Only in America......hence why in international racing American drivers tend to get their lunch eaten.  Can you imagine a 100% throttle IndyCar driver trying to compete in F1, GP2, or Renault FR3.5?  Mark C.

01/28/13 A reader writes, While I understand the concept of Mr. Cox’s position on what qualifying means, I believe his narrative is flawed as the only race he uses as an example is the Indy 500.  In every other IndyCar race there is no bumping.  In fact, in modern times keeping the car count up for each race is often more important than who’s the fastest in qualifying, hence the 107% rule rather than a 105% rule.  He mentions Milka Duno as being “qualified to run every single race in which she competed” but fails to mention that in many races she was ordered to park her car after a handful of laps due to her lack of race speed.  In my mind that would make her decidedly “unqualified” and only able to “qualify” for a race when track conditions and car setup were just right to sneak under the 1xx% rule.  But then again, I’m just an armchair (and race attending) fan so what do I know. Ron Pantzer, Calgary, AB 

Another reader writes, Spoken like someone who never raced at Indy.  When I was a young un I played NCAA tennis on a partial scholarship to a not huge university.  One day I was warming up and Vitus Gerulaitus showed up with entourage.  He was a character but very nice and cool and he asked if I wanted to warm up.  yyyyyeah I did. 

We smacked the ball around and he told me to serve.  I Aced him!!! Oh Fabulous day!  He laughed and then said we should play a set.

6-0 Gerulaitus.  I won two points.  Point being I bet there a few folk who on a good day could actually qualify a car at Indy and since recently we have had those aero-suck boxes one can drive flat punched maybe someone could even qualify.  But that ain't the race.  The racing Dentist and Ms Donuts were dangerous moving chicanes.  Adam F.

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