Rookie recap: Indy 500 one-offs

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Christopher DeHarde assesses the performance of all the rookies who aren't running the full IndyCar season, but did compete in the Indianapolis 500.

Many rookies in the Indy 500 won’t be running the full Verizon IndyCar Series, but their performance should be looked at in detail.

Kurt Busch

Start: 12th Finish: 6th

Busch took on the challenge of the Indy 500 very seriously, and had he stayed longer on the first day of qualifying, he might have made the top 9 shootout on Sunday. He didn’t lead any laps, but he managed to stay competitive all day long without putting a wheel wrong. Busch will get 4/5 on this one.

James Davison, KV Racing Technology
James Davison, KV Racing Technology

Photo by: Walter Kuhn

James Davison

Start: 28th Finish: 16th

Davison really didn’t show up too much on my radar during the month. He came in as a last minute entry and hadn’t run on an oval since 2009. However, he kept his cool and ended up 12 places higher than his starting position. If he can get more funding, he might be able to have better showings. He’ll earn 3/5 for this race.

Sage Karam

Start: 31st Finish: 9th

Karam impressed a lot of people this month. Despite tapping the wall on Carb Day, he managed to push his repaired car to finish 2nd in the Pit Stop Challenge. He made up the most positions compared to where he started and I’m willing to bet he’ll be in an IndyCar again before the season’s out. He’s a great candidate for rookie of the year, and considering that he’s only 19 years old, he could very well be the real deal. He’ll get 4/5 for the race.

Martin Plowman

Start: 29th Finish: 23rd

Martin Plowman, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Honda
Martin Plowman, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Honda

Photo by: Michael C. Johnson

Plowman didn’t have a good day. He channeled the spirit of Dennis Vitolo and ran into the back of Josef Newgarden under yellow, taking him out of the race. He had a heads up move taking to the access road in turn 3, but he had two black flags during the race, with one of them being a pit safety violation and the other for hitting Newgarden. He’ll earn 2/5 for the race today.

Rookie of the Year: I’ll award co-rookie of the year to Kurt Busch and Sage Karam. Both did well and both exceeded expectations for their performance. Kurt may have had the more successful month, but Karam had the more interesting race day performance.

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About this article
Series INDYCAR
Event Indy 500
Sub-event Sunday race
Article type Analysis
Tags indy 500, indycar, james davison, kurt busch, martin plowman, rookie, sage karam