IRL: Jeret Schroeder Passes Indy 500 Rookie Test

Schroeder Passes ROP Saturday; He's Entered in the Indy 500 INDIANAPOLIS, April 10 - On Saturday Jeret Schroeder of Vineland, N.J., successfully completed the Rookie Orientation Program (ROP) that began Thursday at the Indianapolis Motor...

Schroeder Passes ROP Saturday; He's Entered in the Indy 500

INDIANAPOLIS, April 10 - On Saturday Jeret Schroeder of Vineland, N.J., successfully completed the Rookie Orientation Program (ROP) that began Thursday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Friday's activities were rained out. His team owner, Price Cobb of Cobb Racing, entered Schroeder's Purity Farms G-Force Infiniti No. 96 in the Indianapolis 500 on Friday, and Schroeder will attempt to make the starting field for the world's largest single-day sporting event in qualifications here May 22-23. The event, called "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing," will be held on Sunday, May 30. When he makes the field, he will be the first New Jersey driver to compete in the race in 16 years. On Saturday Schroeder completed phases two, three and four of the test, run at speeds of 200-205 mph, 205-210 mph and over 210 mph, respectively. He officially passed the ROP program at 12:29 p.m., turning 26 laps on Thursday and 59 on Saturday. In completing his fourth and final phase he posted the top speed of the session, turning a lap at an average speed of 216.596 mph. That speed is 0.28 mph faster than the slowest car posted in qualifying for last year's Indy 500. Schroeder was the ninth rookie to complete ROP in 1999, joining Wim Eyckmans, David Steele, Ronnie Johncox, John Hollansworth Jr., Robby McGehee, Nick Firestone, Mike Borkowski and Jaques Lazier as drivers expected to compete for the Sprint PCS Rookie of the Year Award at next month's race. Opening day is Saturday, May 15. Schroeder stepped into Roberto Guerrero's primary car for the first time Saturday morning to complete his test, and he made it look very easy. He had to come in once early because his head was being buffeted severely by the 16 mph winds, but the Cobb Racing crew quickly alleviated that problem and Schroeder soon radioed in that he was very comfortable in the car. The only other times he was in the pits were for fuel and for one adjustment to the front wing. "I can't tell you how happy I am," said team owner Price Cobb. "Jeret is obviously very talented. He did a great job. We couldn't be happier." "I can't describe it; I'm ecstatic, I'm elated, and all those other adjectives," Schroeder said after climbing out of the car, accepting the congratulations of his team, and calling his father, Bill Schroeder, to tell him the good news. "I was hoping to get this done Friday, but because of the rain it was just a 'hurry up and wait' situation. We had to hurry to get me fitted into Roberto's car, and then when we were ready to go out it drizzled. It was just annoying yesterday, but that's all forgotten now. "I have raced with a lot of guys who have gone through ROP before, and they told me what to expect. I knew I would be able to do it, but a little part of you goes, 'Gee, that's really fast,' and "I wonder what's really going to happen when I get out there.' So I'm relieved to get this behind me. I can't get too excited. I have to stay focused. My friends and family are getting excited for me; they're showing all my emotion for me," he added with a smile. When Schroeder returns to Indianapolis next month, he said his first task will be to try to get comfortable in the car and to be able to get up to speed in a lap or two instead of three or four laps. "I need to get comfortable with even more speed too, and to be comfortable with any changes the crew makes to the car within a lap or two," he said. "We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but this crew is great. We've already built up a rapport and communication in the few days we've been together, and we're working together well. Price and the other members of Cobb Racing bend over backwards to make you happy and they do whatever needs to be done." Schroeder has a PSCR Sports Car race at Road Atlanta on the docket this Sunday, April 18, and then he'll return to Indianapolis when practice officially begins next month. "For the last two years I've been here without a ride, and I had to leave Indianapolis knowing in my heart that I could do this but not having the opportunity," Schroeder said. "Now when I leave here this time, I'll be coming back next month to drive. It's an incredible feeling."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jeret Schroeder , Jaques Lazier  , Roberto Guerrero , Price Cobb , Ronnie Johncox , Mike Borkowski