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
Indy 500 Superbowl Commerical
 
Indy 500 Commercial Adds to Spectacle of Super Bowl Broadcast
The commercial – a first for the Indianapolis 500 during the NFL’s marquee game -- will air regionally around the Midwest.
Read More
Fan Memories
 
Fan Memories: 'Race Day is Christmas Morning'
Trent Pohlar, originally from Indianapolis and now living in Greenwood, Indiana, will be attending his 49th consecutive Indianapolis 500. Pohlar, 59, works as a project sales manager for Architectural Glass & Metal Company, Inc.
Read More
Scott Dixon
 
Dixon Unveils Throwback Livery for 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series Season
Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR) announced today the return of the team’s classic “Lightning Bolt” livery to the No. 9 Target Chevrolet driven by four-time and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon for the 2016 season.
Read More
Ryan Hunter-Reay
 
Honda and INDYCAR Announce Multiyear Extension
INDYCAR and Honda announced a multiyear extension to the agreement that retains the manufacturer as an engine supplier to the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Read More
Max Chilton
 
Chilton Joins Ganassi Lineup for 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series Season
Chip Ganassi Racing Teams announced Feb. 1 that the former Formula 1 driver from Reigate, England will pilot the No. 8 Chevrolet in a full-season effort for the 2016 season.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 2,095
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 Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
One Epic event to the next, congrats to the @broncos on #SB50! See you at the #Indy500! https://t.co/d3SzjgUSEZ https://t.co/mG0ylfEsBb
about 4 hours ago