I am heartily ashamed of you! You yourselves have become the prime example of
what you were talking about regarding the moral crisis in sport (May 20).
In your coverage
of the Indianapolis "500" (Close Call for a Jones Boy, June 10) you
take the position that Chief Steward Harlan Fengler was justified in not
black-flagging Parnelli Jones for the sole reason that Jones was leading the
race at the time. I quote: "He presumably would have black-flagged the
Jones car if it had been out of serious contention."
The black flag is
not intended to help the leader win nor the laggard lose; it is intended solely
to safeguard all of the contestants, regardless of position. As Jimmy Clark
said, "I would much rather be second than dead." Fortunately, in this
particular case the resulting spins were not fatal (except perhaps to those car
owners' pocketbooks), but the fact remains: a safety flag's use should be based
solely on the matter of safety and not be decided by an impromptu trackside
lobbying session—in this case by the leading car's owner!
GORDON HARVIN GLASS
Newport Beach, Calif.
Sour grapes to Kenneth Rudeen. In one breath he strengthens the position of a
wishy-washy track official (Steward Fengler) and then adds gross insult to
injury with some sentimental slop about not depriving Parnelli Jones of
racing's richest plum for just spewing oil all over the track.
follows with a coup de grace of circumlocution and rationalization by saying,
in effect, the Lotus-Fords finished higher than anyone thought they would in
the first place, so why gripe?
Rudeen castigates Eddie Sachs as a very emotional driver, placates the very
fine Chapman-Clark team and raises high the pedestal for Parnelli Jones, winner
by virtue of a double standard.
WILLIAM T. BATES
Do you also believe that a fighter who happens to be leading on points should
not be penalized for a foul blow?
Throughout the article it is repeated that it would have been a shame if Jones
had been black-flagged. Sports fans feel it is a shame to see many things
happen in their favorite sports. I am sure Met fans are sorry to see their team
lose, and feel that it is a shame it had to happen. However, I am positive that
even the most die-hard fans would balk at seeing their team stretch the rules
in order to win.
all this exhaust smoke is the fact that Chapman and Clark, who stood to lose
the most, concurred with Steward Fengler's decision not to black-flag Jones's
car, and Lotus-Ford's Benson Ford told Fengler he made a "fine
I thought your readers might be interested in the identity of one of Jimmy
Clark's wheel changers—the one shown in your picture with the upraised arm,
indicating that he had completed his part of the pit procedure in 20 seconds,
12.3 seconds ahead of the others. Had the other pit attendants done their work
in 20 seconds, Clark would have emerged 1.3 seconds ahead of Jones.