Johnny Rutherford, Gordon Johncock and Al and Bobby Unser - all former winners - are among drivers without cars to drive in the Indianapolis 500 as a result of the U.S. Auto Club's barring yesterday of rival Championship Auto Racing Teams from the Memorial Day classic.
USAC notified six CART teams (which made up 19 of 103 entries) their applications for the Indy 500 have been rejected because they were "not in good standing with USAC."
Paul Reinhard, USAC public relations director, said, "The drivers could still come in and drive another car. At this point, it is just against the entries, not the drivers.
"These guys (heads of the six driving teams) were the nucleus of a concerted effort to be harmful to auto racing - more specifically, to USAC and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway."
The rift was created when CART, initially headed by Roger Penske and Pat Patrick, split from USAC last year. CART has staged one race in 1979 which received television coverage and has another planned Sunday in Atlanta.
Rutherford, contacted in Atlanta, said, "Everyone seems to be in total shock and disbelief, I really don't know what the move will be. I just don't know what to say. We will probably go to our lawyers and see what recourse to take."