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Drivers support Conway's choice to quit ovals

Dario Franchitti - who will be handing over his IndyCar Series title to new hands this weekend - was insistent that there was nothing lacking in Conway's courage or commitment behind the wheel.

"I was thinking about it last night and I thought, 'If you watched him through the chicane at Baltimore, bravery isn't an issue for Mike Conway,'" said the Indianapolis 500 champion. "I think it takes a very brave person to say, 'No, I don't like doing that.'"

Franchitti's car owner Chip Ganassi said that the modern cars were proving to be "a very temperamental animal to keep under control" and that even the best in the business were scaring themselves in the cockpit.

"You don't want to see anybody stepping out of something they love, but I don't think anybody has not expressed fear from time to time," said Ganassi. "That's part and parcel of IndyCar racing. I just hope that Mike has the right group of people around him, I hope he was just having a bad day."

Randy Bernard, the chief executive of the IndyCar Series, said he had yet to catch up with Conway and find out more about the English driver's decision not to compete on ovals any more.

"I like Mike a lot, but I think everyone knows that racing is very dangerous," said Bernard. "I haven't talked to him so I haven't heard him say what drove him to his decision."

One driver who seemed to be even more in sync with Conway's state of mind was KV Racing's EJ Viso, reports's Lynne Huntting.

"If more downforce is not fitted for this race I'm not racing," Viso tweeted after qualifying. His formal post-session quotes developed that growing sense of unease: "I don't feel comfortable on this track.

"It is extremely bumpy and irregular. I feel that the drivers are extremely exposed and I don't blame Mike Conway for deciding not to race here," he said, before reiterating: "If the series doesn't decide to add more downforce I won't race. It's tough to understand where the challenge ends and the stupidity begins.”

Conway's seat for Saturday night's race has been taken by young Kiwi racer Wade Cunningham, who felt Conway had made a brave and correct call. "You have to respect the guy," said Cunningham.

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