INDIANAPOLIS (AP)- Nine rookie
drivers will be in the 33-car lineup Sun-
day for the 66th Indianapolis 500-mile
race. But a more significant fact is that
18 of the starters have driven in no
more than two Indy races.
Since the first Indy 500 in 1911, when
all the starters were rookies, the record
for the most first-year drivers is 19 in
1919. The post-war record, however, is
12 in 1951.
"EXPERIENCE is important here,"
says three-time winner Johnny Ruther-
ford, who will be starting his 19th Indy
race. "It used to be that very few car
owners would even consider a younger
guy if there was somebody with some
experience around without a ride.
"But things have changed.
Nowadays, ifa driver comes along with
a sponsor in his pocket-a chunk of
money to bring to the team-he's in the
car. It's the rent-a-ride thing now, and
that can put guys in the driver's seat
who don't belong there. They don't
know how to react in a bad situation."
Rutherford doesn't condemn all
newcomers, though, noting, "Of course,
there are talented guys who come along
who are going to be the stars of the
future. Like Kevin Cogan, for example.
He's only 26 years old and he's got a
brilliant future ahead of him.
"BUT HE'S out there going very fast
in a state-of-the-art race car and there
are still things he does on the track that
tell you he's got a lot more to learn."
Cogan, who will start the race in the
middle of the first row after qualifying
at more than 204 mph, is one of the
talented group of Indy sophomores in
But this year's rookies also made a
The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, May 26, 1982-Page 15
includes only 15 vets
considerable impression during the two history.
weekends of qualifications, with Chip ACTUALLY, THE term rookie is a
Ganassi and Dale Whittington both misnomer here, since nearly every fir-
qualifying at more than 197 mph, Dan- st-year Indy driver has had experience-
ny Sullivan and Jim Hickman both over often a great deal-elsewhere.
196, Herm Johnson and Mexico's Hec- In this year's rookie group, Rebacque
tor Rebacque both over 195, and Chet has raced in Formula One; Sullivan in
Fillip, Bobby Rahal and Roger Mears Can-Am; Rahal and Whittington in
all over 194 in the fastest field in Indy sports car endurance racing; Ganassi
and Hickman in the Super Vee, or mini-
Indy, series; Johnson has run nine
other Indy-car races; Fillip sprint cars
and modifieds, and Mears off-road,
"It used to be that just about
everybody who came here paid his dues
in the midgets and sprint cars," said
pole-sitter Rick Mears, Roger's
younger brother and Cogan's team-
mate. "But things have changed. The
cars are different now. You don't drive
these cars like dirt cars anymore. You
don't slide them through the turns with
ground effects and the other
"Now the training ground is mostly
Super Vees or sports cars. But, really,
if you're a race car driver, you just get
n and drive. Experienceis important.
But you don't get experience in a cer-
tam type of car unless you drive it."
Except for a two-hour practice
Whittington session on Thursday, the track will be
le qualifiers closed until race day.
. ..top rook
DEFEATS BRUCE MANSON IN THREE SETS:
Connors advances in French Open
PARIS (AP)- Tournament favorite
Jimmy Connors advanced to the second
round of the $917,000 French Open ten-
nis tournament yesterday with a 6-3, 6-
3, 6-1 elimination of fellow American
"The older I get, the better I'll get ...
maybe," said Connors, who turns 30 in
CONNORS, ranked second in the
world, is attempting to become the first
American to win this prestigious Fren-
ch clay court event in nearly three
The chances for that honor escaped
another seeded American player
South Africa's Danie Visser, a 20-
year-old who is ranked 121st in the
world, staged the first upset of the two-
week tournament when he wore down
No. 14 seed Steve Denton 3-6, 6-4, 7-6, 6-
3. Denton, 25, from Driscoll, Texas, is
IN OTHER first-round matches
yesterday seventh-seeded Peter Mc-
Namara of Australia posted a hard-
fought 4-6, 6-3, 7-6, 7-5 victory over
French teen-ager Henri Leconte, while
eighth-seeded Yannick Noah of France
had little difficulty in scoring a 6-2, 6-3,
6:2 triumph over Jean-Louis Haillet,
also of France.
No. 10 seed Balazs Taroczy of
Hungary needed five sets to survive
yesterday. He advanced with a 4-6, 6-2,
6-7, 6-1, 6-4 victory over Sweden's Hans
Simonsson, who had entered the tour-
nament from the qualifying round.
American Mel Purcell, the No. 16 seed,
moved into the second round with a 7-5,
6-2, 6-1 triumph over Gullermo Aubone
Two rising teen-age stars also made
it through their first outings yesterday.
SWEDEN'S MATS Wilander, who has
risen an astonishing 264 spots in the
world rankings since 1980, posted a 6-4,
6-3, 6-4 victory over Alejandro Cortes of
Wilander, currently ranked 18th,
celebrates his 18th birthday in August.
He was the French Open junior's
champion last year and often has been
compared to Bjorn Borg.
A six-time French Open champion,
Borg is not trying for a seventh crown
this year. The 25-year-old Swede recen-
tly cancelled his remaining Volvo
Grand Prix trounaments, including
Wimbledon, because of a dispute over
how many events he should be required
to enter in 1982.
THE OTHER teen-age prodigy to ad-
vance yesterday was American Jimmy
Arias, who ousted Israel's top player,
Shlomo Glickstein, 6-2, 6-4, 7-6. The 24-
year-old Glickstein is ranked 30th,
while Arias, a 17-year-old who is six
days older than Wilander, is ranked
Arias, who resides in Grand Island,
N.Y., made tennis history last year
when he teamed up with Andrea Jaeger
to win the French Open mixed doubles
title. The two American teenagers
became the youngest team to win that
crown in Paris.
Romanian Ilie Nastase, who at age 35
is one of the oldest men on the circuit,
played with some of his old magic
yesterday in a 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 elimination of
Hungarian Zoltan Kiharszky. Nastase,
the 1972 French Open champion,
currently is ranked 83rd, while Kuhar-
szky holds the 95th spot.
Chris Evert Lloyd, the top seed
among the women, sees action for the
first time today.
JIMMY CONNORS, SHOWN HERE in another tournament, easily won his
first round match yesterday at the French Open. Connors, the tournament's
top seed and the second ranked player in the world, upended Bruce Manson,
6-3, 6-3, 6-1. The 30 year old Connors is attempting to become the first
Maneria to ibthe Firti1OpetiWnearly30 yers.