Houston rookie recap

Christopher DeHarde reviews the weekend IndyCar's rookies had in Houston, and for most of them, it was nothing short of a spectacular showing.

Overall, the rookies had a heck of a weekend in Houston, so let’s take a moment to look over their strong showing. In fact, they took up four of the six positions on podium between the two races.


Mikhail Aleshin

Race One: Start 10th, Finish 23rd

Race Two: Start 2nd, Finish 2nd

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

Photo by: Chris Owens

Aleshin became the target of AJ Foyt’s wrath during the first race as he and Takuma Sato tangled. At the time, he was a lap down, while Sato ran second. During the second race, he was able to keep his car in the runner-up position and was able to recover after suffering some front wing damage, courtesy of Graham Rahal. He was able to stay ahead of Power on the restarts and keep his nose clean at the end of the race, even with a tire that was going flat. I’ll give him 2/5 for the first race, and 5/5 for the second race, simply because he put on remarkable performance.

Jack Hawksworth

Race One: Start 21st, Finish 6th

Race Two: Start 23rd, Finish 3rd

Hawksworth needed to rebound in Houston. He did a fantastic job moving up into the top ten in the first race after starting dead last, and then scoring a podium in the second race after holding off a highly aggressive Juan Pablo Montoya and Charlie Kimball. I’ll give him 4/5 in the first race and 5/5 in the second race because he drove like a veteran. He remained calm, could not be forced into a mistake, and was able to hold off drivers with several more years of experience than him.

Carlos Huertas

Race One: Start 19th, Finish 1st Race Two: Start 13th, Finish 23rd

Carlos Huertas celebrates his first win
Carlos Huertas celebrates his first win

Photo by: Chris Owens

If someone would’ve told me before this weekend started that Carlos Huertas would win one of the two races, I don;t think anyone but him would have believed you. Huertas was lucky to have a great strategy, thanks to his crew at Dale Coyne Racing and pulled off a massive upset victory. His race on Sunday was cut massively short because of a mechanical failure, so for Saturday he’ll get 5/5 for winning, but on Sunday I can only manage 2/5.

Carlos Munoz

Race One: Start 23rd, Finish 3rd

Race Two: Start 9th, Finish 22nd

Munoz did a great job getting onto the third step of the podium in the first race, but overdid it on Sunday, slapping the wall in the last corner and breaking the right rear suspension. The only reason he’s getting 4/5 for Saturday and not 5/5 is because Huertas won. Had Huertas finished second, Munoz would’ve gotten 5/5 as well, but I have to differentiate between a winning drive and a great finish. Race Two will see Munoz get a 3/5, because he was able to hold his own up near the front before overcooking it.

Complete Review

Aleshin: 2/5, 5/5 for 7/10

Hawksworth: 4/5, 5/5 for 9/10

Huertas: 5/5, 2/5 for 7/10

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


Aleshin: 31/50

Hawksworth: 33/50

Huertas: 29/50

Munoz: 30/50

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Event Houston
Sub-event Sunday post-race
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Schmidt Peterson Motorsports , Dale Coyne Racing
Article type Commentary
Tags carlos huertas, houston, indycar, jack hawksworth, mikhail aleshin