Six Rookies Complete Indy 500 Program

James Jakes

James Jakes set the fastest lap of the session, running a lap of 41.2338 seconds, 218.268 mph in the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda. (Photo: IMS)

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Six drivers completed the three required speed phases during Rookie Orientation Program activities May 10 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Josef Newgarden and Bryan Clauson of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, James Jakes of Dale Coyne Racing, Simon Pagenaud of Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports and Rubens Barrichello of KV Racing Technology completed the 40-lap test, clearing the way for them to compete in the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 27. Michel Jourdain Jr., who last raced at Indianapolis in 1996, also completed the speed phases.

Wade Cunningham of A.J. Foyt Racing completed two of the three phases. He, along with Jean Alesi of Fan Force United, can complete the final phase when ROP resumes at 4:30 p.m. on May 11.

The Rookie Orientation Program is designed to provide first-year drivers an informal opportunity to get acquainted with the 2.5-mile oval. The three speed phases, which were set by INDYCAR based on the weather and track conditions, were: Phase 1: 10 laps at 200-205 mph; Phase 2: 15 laps at 205-210 mph; and Phase 3: 15 Laps at 210 mph-plus.

Jakes set the fastest lap of the session, running a lap of 41.2338 seconds, 218.268 mph in the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda.

"I have mixed memories of this place," Jakes said. "Obviously I love driving around here. There's no place like it, but going home last year was probably one of the lowest points of my racing career. I've never not been able to get into a race before, and it really got to me last year. But we said this year we wouldn't be in the same situation, and we've started things the right way. It's only ROP, but we sailed through the first three stages and it went well.

"I think I would have happy going straight out there, but it's good. You never complain about getting free laps on free tires, you know. I think it's good, and I think they should maybe have a refresher day for everybody. You know, when you come from another track the speeds are so much greater here than everywhere else, and all it takes is one mistake to have a big accident. So I think the idea of the ROP is good."

For Alesi, the 18 laps he turned in the No. 64 Lotus - FP Journe - Fan Force United Lotus were his initial laps in an IZOD IndyCar Series machine as well as his first ever laps on an oval.

"There's a first time for everything," he said. "It's a big day and I'm very happy to be in Indianapolis on this great racetrack with Lotus. I will rest better now. You have a tension when you go out of the pit, but as soon as you change gears and go up with the speed you feel in your world. I've been in motorsports for a long time but haven't driven on an oval, so I've very happy to have accomplished this part."

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IZOD Indy Car Series

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Auto Club 500

@ Auto Club Speedway
Saturday, October 19, 2013
TV Start:
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