Indy 500 rookie recap: full-season competitors

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Christopher DeHarde assesses the performance of all the Indy 500 rookies who are also running the full IndyCar season.

Today saw the end of the month of May and the second of two races of Indianapolis. For the Grand Prix, we will not look over Martin Plowman since he is not competing for rookie of the year. For the 500, we will look over the 500 only drivers in another story. This story will contain the Verizon IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year candidates even though Carlos Munoz competed at Indianapolis last year.

Mikhail Aleshin

Mikhail Aleshin, Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda
Mikhail Aleshin, Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda

Photo by: Walter Kuhn

Grand Prix Start: 25th Finish: 25th

Aleshin was caught up in the accident on the front stretch, so there really wasn’t too much to grade him on. He was in the top 10 in two of the three practice sessions, and in the third session he was 11th. Aleshin just couldn’t put it together for quailfying, which is mystifying. He has had some flashes of good driving, but has been inconsistent throughout the season. Based on his potential speed, I’ll give him a 2/5 for the weekend. Had he gotten a result in the top 15, maybe he would have gotten a 3, but there isn’t really much to look on.

Indianapolis 500 Start: 15th Finish:21st

Aleshin had a mechanical issue in the first half of the race, but managed to lead one lap, becoming the first Russian to lead the race. Aleshin managed to keep himself out of trouble, and really wasn’t too much of a factor on race day. Considering that he wasn’t one of the bottom 3-5 cars in the standings, he impressed me a bit. I’ll give him a 3/5 for the race.

Jack Hawksworth

Grand Prix Start: 2nd Finish: 7th

Hawksworth got the lead with a great pass on Ryan Hunter-Reay heading into turn one on lap 10 and ended up leading the most laps of anyone in the race. He was second fastest in the third practice session and did extremely well in the wet conditions at the track during the weekend. Hawksworth impressed me with how well he drove up front and even put up the second fastest lap of the race. Based on his performance today, I’ll give him a 4/5. Let’s hope he looks this good during the 500.

Indianapolis 500 Start: 13th Finish 20th

Hawksworth had a relatively uneventful race. He was the last car on the lead lap at the finish, but faded after the last restart. He might have gotten fatigued which can happen to someone racing at Indy for the first time. It also didn’t really help that the first 75% of the race was green. However, he kept out of the wall, so he’ll get a 3/5 for the race.

Carlos Huertas

Carlos Huertas, Dale Coyne Racing Honda
Carlos Huertas, Dale Coyne Racing Honda

Photo by: John Cote

Grand Prix Start: 17th Finish: 13th

Huertas missed the carnage at the start of the race by thankfully starting ahead of Munoz, and wasn’t too much of a factor during the rest of the race. He climbed through the field slowly but surely thanks to others making pit stops and was able to get scored in second place before pitting in the last caution. He was able to salvage a 13th place finish, so he’ll earn 3/5 for this race weekend.

Indianapolis 500 Start: 21st Finish: 17th

Huertas improved from his starting position, which neither Aleshin nor Hawksworth could claim. He also surprised me by not being in the bottom 3-5 cars at the finish since he hadn’t done an oval race before the 500. Since he didn’t put it in the fence, he’ll also get 3/5.

Carlos Munoz

Grand Prix Start: 19th Finish: 24th

Munoz was also caught up in the accident on the front stretch. Despite him competing in the 2013 Indy 500, he’ll be counted as a rookie for the purposes of the season review. He managed a 5th in the third practice session which was held in wet conditions, so I’ll also give him 2/5. Hopefully he’ll have a run at the 500 similar to last year.

Indianapolis 500 Start: 7th Finish: 4th.

Munoz also improved his position, and was a threat late in the race to win. His lowest spot was 14th for one lap, and he remained a contender all day long. He gained a good amount of points and leads the rest of the full timers in points. If he keeps this up, he could win rookie of the year.

Aleshin 2/5, 3/5 for 5/10

Hawksworth: 4/5, 3/5 for 7/10

Huertas: 3/5, 3/5 for 6/10

Munoz: 2/5, 4/5 for 6/10

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About this article
Series INDYCAR
Event Indy 500
Sub-event Sunday race
Article type Analysis
Tags carlos huertas, carlos munoz, ims, indianapolis, indy 500, indycar, jack hawsworth, mikhail aleshin, rookie