FOUR DRIVERS COMPLETE ROOKIE ORIENTATION PROGRAM ON FIRST DAY By Eric Powell indy500.com INDIANAPOLIS, April 8, 1999 -Indianapolis 500 rookies Wim Eyckmans, Dave Steele, Ronnie Johncox and John Hollansworth Jr. completed their rookie...
FOUR DRIVERS COMPLETE ROOKIE ORIENTATION PROGRAM ON FIRST DAY By Eric Powell indy500.com
INDIANAPOLIS, April 8, 1999 -Indianapolis 500 rookies Wim Eyckmans, Dave Steele, Ronnie Johncox and John Hollansworth Jr. completed their rookie tests April 8 on the first day of the 1999 Rookie Orientation Program. Eyckmans, 26, from Brussels, Belgium, was the first driver to complete the four-phase rookie test and the only to finish during the morning session. He will try to qualify the Team Cheever #52 Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear owned by 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever at the 500. His top speed of the day was 213.457 mph, second only to Hollansworth's 213.650 on the 2.5-mile oval. "You have to concentrate every lap very well, because otherwise you're going off," said Eyckmans, a veteran of Indy Lights, F3000 and karting competition. "It's nice to race here. It's a big race." Rookie orientation resumes from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday. Admission is free for the public, with seating available in the South Terrace near the Hall of Fame Museum. The 1999 Indianapolis 500, scheduled for May 30, will be Eyckmans' first Pep Boys Indy Racing League event. Steele, driving the Pennzoil Panther #43 G Force/Aurora/Goodyear, was the next to complete his rookie test, with a top speed of 212.394. Steele has competed in three previous Pep Boys Indy Racing League events, all in 1998. 1999 Pep Boys Indy Racing League rookie Hollansworth, driving his backup pcsave.com-Lycos-Feed the Children Dallara/Aurora/Firestone, passed the test in just 55 laps, faster than any other driver today. Drivers must complete 10 laps in each of four distinct, 5-mph speed increments ranging from 195 to 210 mph or faster. Johncox's top speed was 212.279 in the PDM Racing G Force/Aurora/Goodyear. USAC standout Johncox is driving the PDM car for the test only. Other rookies who are participating in the rookie orientation but have not completed the test are Robby McGehee, Jaques Lazier, Nick Firestone, Jeret Schroeder and Mike Borkowski. McGehee and Lazier completed three phases, Firestone two and Schroeder one. Borkowski didn't turn any laps, as he is sharing the PDM car with Johncox. Top Speeds Overall, Thursday: 1. #42T John Hollansworth Jr. 213.650 mph 2. #51 Wim Eyckmans 213.457 3. #43 Dave Steele 212.394 4. #18 Ronnie Johncox 212.279 5. #15 Jaques Lazier 209.458 6. #55 Robby McGehee 206.053 7. #34 Nick Firestone 204.350 8. #96 Jeret Schroeder 201.730 9. #42 John Hollansworth Jr. 196.331
Vets ready to go: Nearly 30 Indianapolis 500 veteran drivers will participate in the Open Test Saturday and Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Practice will take place from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. both days. Fans are welcome to attend the test for free. Seating is available in the South Terrace near the Hall of Fame Museum.