HAMPTON, Ga., Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2001 - Rocky Moran Jr. and brothers Aaron and A.J. Fike completed their Indy Racing League rookie tests Dec. 4 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Aaron Fike, 19, turned 103 laps early in the day with an unofficial top speed of 206.82 mph on the 1.54-mile quad-oval. His older brother A.J., 21, produced an unofficial top speed of 209.81 mph later in the day and completed 92 laps. The Fike brothers, USAC short-track standouts, drove a Dallara chassis prepared by PDM Racing.
Moran, 21, son of three-time Indianapolis 500 starter Rocky Moran, also passed the speed phase at AMS turning 236 laps with an unofficial top speed of 212.00 mph in a G Force chassis prepared by Clayton Cunningham Racing.
"It's different," A.J. Fike said. "It's kind of like a big, laid-back go-kart. Everything is really responsive. The faster I went, the better it felt. At first I wasn't sure, but once I started going faster, it really settled down and felt comfortable. It was a lot of fun." His younger brother agreed.
"Pretty awesome," Aaron Fike said. "I've never gone that fast wide open. It's a totally different experience for us. We're not used to these kinds of speeds, downforce or wings. The wings really help out. In the midgets, we floor it down the straightaways, try to hustle it in the corners and pick up the throttle as soon as possible. Here, the wings really help you out."
A.J. Fike was the 1999 USAC Midget Rookie of the Year, while his brother won the award in 2000. It was the first time in USAC history that brothers have won consecutive rookie titles. A.J. has two national Midget wins and finished second in Midget points in 2001.
Aaron was also named the 2001 USAC Silver Crown Rookie of the Year and became the youngest driver to ever win a national Silver Crown race in June at Richmond, Va. He finished fifth in Midget points and 10th in Silver Crown points.
Moran finished ninth in points in the 2001 Toyota Atlantic Championship driving for Cobb Racing. He finished fifth in points in Toyota Atlantic in 2000 and was the only driver in the series to complete every lap throughout the season.
The rookie test thrilled Moran.
"It was an awesome experience," Moran said. "The rookie test went really smooth and I learned a lot. Once we got up to that last stage, I was really ready to do it, and we went flat around there. The car wasn't quite trimmed out yet, but it was exhilarating, it was awesome."