Nobody likes the fact that the big drivers are not in Indianapolis on Memorial Day weekend, but the race is bigger than the drivers.
TODD G. SMITH, WAUSAU, WIS.
The 1997 Indianapolis 500 was one of the most competitive in a long time (What Ever Happened to Indy? June 2) and far exceeded the expectations of the Indy Racing League's detractors, even if "only" 100,000 lucky fans and more than five million TV viewers were able to duck out of work on a Tuesday to watch it.
GREGORY J. PEARSON, Lawrence, Ind.
Names like Unser, Andretti and Foyt were made by the Brickyard just as new names like Lazier, Luyendyk and Stewart are now being made. Wars, bankruptcy, overgrown weeds, fire and the gas shortage couldn't kill Indy, and neither will this.
GARY W. WATKINS, Edgewater Park, N.J.
Indy today is a bunch of drivers all driving the same type of car. The innovation and new designs of the Dan Gurney era in the late 1950s and '60s made following Indy much more interesting. I recall when Jim Clark almost won the 500 in 1963 driving a rear-engine Ford that burned pump gasoline instead of alcohol, a fascinating turn of events that cannot be matched today.
FRED MATOS, Annapolis, Md.
NASCAR continues to trumpet its cause by claiming parity and close competition, yet two drivers, Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, have won 14 of the 48 championships.
BRUCE T. JOHNSON, Reedley, Calif.
Coming Out Early
Alexander Wolff says that guys like Cincinnati forward Danny Fortson and Kentucky swingman Ron Mercer have "good reasons" for coming out of school early (Impossible Dream, June 2). Is the potential to be a lottery pick a good reason to forsake a college education?
BRIAN GURTMAN, Woodmere, N.Y.
So SI mourns the mercenary decisions of several underclassmen to forgo their academic eligibility to be available for the NBA draft. Your story showed that in the 1996 draft, nine of the top 10 picks were underclassmen and almost 60% of the underclassmen who entered the draft were selected. Would their job prospects, with the NBA or elsewhere, have improved had they stayed in school and finished their degrees?
I have three degrees. I spent 11 years in university and then had to compete with several hundred similarly trained people for the job I now hold. If someone had told me that I had a 60% chance of joining the NBA after one or two years of university, my sneakers would have been laced instantly.
JULIAN S. YEOMANS, Toronto
Pete Sampras's story is one of tremendous success by an unassuming man (The Passion of Pete, May 26). My question is, How could he or Michael Chang be chided for not contributing enough to their sport? To me, enjoying fast-paced tennis of the caliber that Sampras plays is, as he says, "what it's all about."
KENNY MCCANLESS, Ferndale, Calif.
The Mystic Rock pro-am was a charity event held for the Leukemia Society of America, yet Tiger Woods was paid $1.3 million to play in it for three years (SCORECARD, June 2). A man worth more than $80 million cannot donate his time to a worthy charity? He was not the only one; 34 other pros were also paid for their time. No wonder the event donated only $100,000 to the Leukemia Society.
DEBBY DOWLING, Pittsburgh