News & Multimedia

Indy 500 Rookies Breeze Through ROP

Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Carlos Huertas eventually agreed with his father that the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race isn't one to pass up.

"I was a bit unsure because I never did it before and because I had a late start to the season I couldn't prepare for the ovals well," said Huertas, 22, of Colombia, who will compete in his first race on an oval. "This race is different because you get a lot of practice, which helped in the decision. If I'm well-prepared, I'm ready to do it."

Huertas, who competed in Formula Renault 3.5 in 2012-13, has a best finish of 10th through three Verizon IndyCar Series races in the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing car and participated May 5 in the formal Indianapolis 500 Rookie Orientation Program at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He totaled 77 laps. Other full-season Verizon Indy Car Series drivers Jack Hawksworth (Bryan Herta Autosport) and Mikhail Aleshin (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) were joined by Martin Plowman (A.J. Foyt Racing) and 2013 Indy Lights champion Sage Karam (Dreyer & Reinbold Kingdom Racing) on the 2.5-mile oval.

Carlos Huertas "Being on the oval is weird to start with because everything is so different," said Huertas, who noted that a decision about competing in the other five oval races will be made after the '500.' "I think the speed was OK. I was just working on the lines and understanding what to do. I think everything is very new, but I think I did OK."



The program is designed to provide the first-year competitors an opportunity to get acquainted with their cars and the racetrack through three speed phases set by INDYCAR -- 10 laps at 200-205 mph, 15 laps at 205-210 mph and 15 laps at 210-plus mph. Driver stewards also monitored car control, placement and a consistent driving pattern.

"It was actually harder for me to go slower (in Phase 1) because you had to lift and I don't like to lift," said Aleshin, who also will compete in his first oval race in the No. 7 SMP Racing car. "This is so important and it's all set now for working with the car in practice for the Indy 500. This will be the first oval race in my career and how awesome is it that it will be the Indy 500?"

All but Karam, whose car developed a mechanical issue that prevented the 19-year-old from Nazareth, Pa., from completing all three phases, completed the program. Karam will be allowed to finish the third phase on the first day of practice May 11.

Additionally, NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, who completed his refresher course on the oval April 29 in an Andretti Autosport car, recorded 114 laps and went through some rudimentary pit stops with the No. 26 car crew.

Busch, 35, will attempt to become the fourth driver to attempt the "double" -- competing in the 98th Indianapolis 500 and the evening stock car race in Concord, N.C., on May 25. He won the latter in 2010. John Andretti, Robby Gordon and Tony Stewart have each done it, with Stewart -- co-owner of Busch's No. 41 Sprint Cup car at Stewart Haas Racing -- becoming the first in 2001 to complete all 1,000 miles. A day earlier, Busch was involved in a multi-car crash in the stock car race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Cars will be on the racetrack for the opening of practice about 18 hours after the checkered flag flies for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the reconfigured road course. Qualifications are May 17-18.
 

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Indy 500 Rookies Breeze Through ROP
 
Indy 500 Rookies Breeze Through ROP
The program is designed to provide the first-year competitors an opportunity to get acquainted with their cars and the racetrack through three speed phases set by INDYCAR -- 10 laps at 200-205 mph, 15 laps at 205-210 mph and 15 laps at 210-plus mph. Driver stewards also monitored car control, placement and a consistent driving pattern.
Read More
Related Media
Starters Ring
 
101st Indianapolis 500 Field Starts Final Countdown to Race Day at Drivers' Meeting
Drivers participating in the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil received final instructions and awards Saturday in the public drivers’ meeting, the final race activity at the track before “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
Read More
Michael Andretti
 
Thirst for Victory Never Quenched for Owners Penske, Ganassi, Andretti at Indianapolis
Roger Penske sounds as intense as ever. Chip Ganassi welcomes every opportunity to defeat him. And Michael Andretti continues to triumph as an owner in the race that dogged him as a driver. The powerhouse trio of owners in the Verizon IndyCar Series have a combined 15 of the 33 cars entered in the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on Sunday. Their cars have claimed 25 Indy 500 victories in their careers, including eight with drivers in this field.
Read More
A.J. Foyt
 
Invigorated Foyt Recalls Humble Indy Beginnings before Becoming Legend of Speedway
He arrived at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as an unknown, a big, burly dude with a Texan accent, just looking to gain access to Gasoline Alley. Nobody knew Anthony Joseph Foyt Jr. in 1958. So they didn’t let him in. That’s how the legend of A.J. Foyt began.
Read More
Lyn St. James
 
St. James' Incredible Racing Journey Reached Indy 25 Years Ago
Lyn St. James still senses the feel of a race car that responds like no other and the respect for everything it takes to make it go fast. Twenty-five years have passed since she raced an Indy car for the first time, but her memories of that experience have never faded, especially the 11th-place finish in the Indianapolis 500 that earned her the 1992 Rookie of the Year award.
Read More
Alexander Rossi
 
Rookie Winners To Be Saluted on Legends Day presented by Firestone
The Indianapolis 500 has been run 100 times, and no motor race in the world has required more daring, endurance and skill to win. Only 10 drivers in the history of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” have proven to be talented enough, fierce enough and lucky enough to win the race on their first attempt.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 1,452
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact IMS Sales Department at (317) 492-8739 or email at hospitalitysales@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
It's Pole day on @CrownRoyal Armed Forces Weekend & we can't wait to see you! Check out details on the day: https://t.co/yKQ6Db3YRK
May 21