For several years, the IndyCar series has needed every car on the track possible. Car count was critical for a series that struggled to stay on track, period. So if Dr. Jack Miller or Marty Roth or the late stuntman Butch Brickell had enough money to put a car on the track, they were welcome to show up and race (I use that term loosely), sometimes not even needing to post a qualifying speed to make the lineup.
Which brings me to Milka Duno. She brings CITGO sponsorship from Venezuela. Each year she finds a team owner willing to take the money and put her on the track. This year Dale Coyne could not resist. But it’s time to ask if Milka has become a moving chicane that needs to be parked.
This is Milka’s 4th season in the IndyCar series. But she seems to be getting slower, not faster. Milka did not qualify for the Indianapolis 500 this year. But at every other track, she doesn’t have to make the race. She just shows up and too often gets in the way.
Most every other driver in the IndyCar paddock has come up on Milka like a stalled car on the interstate. This past weekend Ryan Hunter-Reay became the new president of the Milka Duno Fan Club when she got in the way of his hot lap in qualifying at Watkins Glen, New York. Milka finished the road course race 23rd, three laps down, last among the cars running. At about the halfway point of the race, she was already out of overtake assistance pushes for her Honda engine, but she did not pass anyone.
Not even with attrition from other crashes has Milka finished in the top 20 of any race this season. When she did not crash out herself, she has been the worst finishing car still running at nearly every race this season. Mike Conway has missed the last 3 races after his Indy 500 crash, and Graham Rahal has missed 4 races searching for a ride. Both drivers still have more points than Milka.
What is Milka accomplishing taking meaningless laps and getting in the way of good competition? Perhaps Milka needs to take the CITGO sponsorship to Indy Lights for awhile. The league did park her at Iowa when she was too slow. She’s a really nice lady. But she doesn’t belong on the track right now.
Rich Nye, WTHR Sports Reporter
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