IRL: Dave Steele Passes Rookie Test

Indianapolis, IN-- Pennzoil Panther Racing's Dave Steele passed his four phase Rookie Orientation Program (ROP) today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Steele had a slight case of nerves but once he strapped in the car, the nervousness was...

Indianapolis, IN-- Pennzoil Panther Racing's Dave Steele passed his four phase Rookie Orientation Program (ROP) today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Steele had a slight case of nerves but once he strapped in the car, the nervousness was just a memory. "I've always felt comfortable in the Indy Car and the only thing that was bothering me was that this time it was at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But once I got into the first lap, I just focused on driving," said Steele at the completion of his test.

Steele turned a total of 76 laps during the ROP with a top speed of 212.394 miles per hour.  The ROP consists of four phases of on-track testing.

Drivers must complete 10 laps at each of these speed phases while showing control of the car under the eye of veteran observers. * Phase 1: 195-200 mph * Phase 2: 200-205 mph * Phase 3: 205-210 mph * Phase 4: More than 210 mph

Team Owner and Manager John Barnes was pleased with what he saw today. "Dave is consistent and has a good feel for the car and most importantly Dave listens to what you say," said Barnes.

Barnes has been at the Speedway and has seen a lot of rookies come up the ranks. Barnes reflected on the best advice to give a rookie, "I think one of the most important things for a rookie to understand is that going fast is the easy part, but there's still a whole lot more to learn."

"Steele's time in the seat in the three races he competed in last year seem to have helped him today at the Speedway." Andy Brown, Chief Engineer for Pennzoil Panther Racing, was "impressed by the calmness and maturity" that Steele showed today. "Dave had a very mature approach to things when he got in the car. He would listen and is then able to take what we tell him, understand it, then apply it right away."

Steele signed with Pennzoil Panther Racing to run the 83rd Indianapolis 500 on May 30,1999 in the #43 car. Steele's crew has not been determined.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Dave Steele , John Barnes
Teams Panther Racing