Rookie Recap: Long Beach

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The rookie report card is out for Long Beach, lets take a look.

The 40th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach has come and gone, so let’s see how the rookies did.

Mikhail Aleshin: Started 20th Finished 6th

Aleshin did not have an impressive Friday or Saturday, and in the early part of the race he wasn’t up front for a lot of the time, but as the race wore on he rose in the standings and improved a lot on his starting position, which impressed me. He kept his nose out of trouble even when others around him lost their nerve. For the showing he did today, he’ll get a 3/5.

Jack Hawksworth: Started: 5th Finished: 15th

Jack Hawksworth, Bryan Herta Autosport Honda
Jack Hawksworth, Bryan Herta Autosport Honda

Photo by: Covy Moore

Hawksworth had an impressive weekend. He set the 3rd fastest time on Friday and made it to the Firestone Fast Six in only his second race, which is no easy feat. He got to 4th place before the first corner but was in 6th at the end of the first lap. It’s a shame he was a little too eager on the gas before the multi-car incident late in the race because he could have scored a top 10 or even a top 5 had he kept his pace up. He had an impressive weekend with a bit of bad luck, but he’ll get a 3/5 because they give out the points at the finish of the race weekend, not on the Friday. If he keeps this up, he’ll be a heavy-hitter for Rookie of the Year.

Carlos Huertas: Started: 21st Finished: 10th

Huertas was a lot like Aleshin in this race in that he wasn’t up near the front a lot but was able to keep his nose clean, for the most part. He did get a drive-through penalty for jumping a late restart, but he was able to keep out of trouble to finish in the top 10. I’ll give Huertas 3/5 on this one, too, because although he was as high as sixth for a few laps, he kept out of trouble and stayed on the lead lap.

Carlos Munoz, Andretti Autosport Honda
Carlos Munoz, Andretti Autosport Honda

Photo by: Covy Moore

Carlos Munoz: Started: 11th Finished: 3rd

Munoz kept his cool during the entire race, and although he didn’t start the weekend off quickly, he found the right setup and was able to get to the second round of qualifying, unlike the three other guys in the top four. Munoz avoided the accident triggered by Ryan Hunter-Reay and Josef Newgarden, so either his spotter told him what happened or he paid attention to flags that were waving, although there were no shots showing any marshall posts waving yellow flags before turn four. Munoz was chomping at the bit trying to get around Power near the end of the race, but kept his head and didn’t risk taking himself out. With that kind of maturity, I’m thinking he could be Hawksworth’s main competition for Rookie of the Year. Because of his performance today, he’ll earn 4/5.

Standings:

Aleshin: 6/10 Hawksworth: 6/10 Huertas: 5/10 Munoz: 6/10

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About this article
Series INDYCAR
Article type Commentary
Tags carlos huertas, carlos munoz, chris deharde, hinchliffe, hunter reay, indycar, jack hawksworth, mikhail aleshin, recap, rookies, rookie winner