International cast set to vie for ‘Fastest Rookie’ honors

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]May 2013

For immediate release

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INDIANAPOLIS – Four rookie drivers from three continents have assembled in Indianapolis to compete for one of the most prestigious honors associated with the 500-Mile Race: the 39th annual Fastest Rookie of the Year Award.

The American Dairy Association of Indiana and its Hoosier dairy farm families have sponsored the program since its inception in 1975.

The fastest qualifier from among this year’s rookie class will be guest of honor at the Fastest Rookie of the Year Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, May 21 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Plaza Pavilion. This by-invitation-only event, which salutes all of the first-year drivers in the race field, is attended each year by more than 300. Included among guests are representatives of the dairy industry from throughout Indiana and the US, a multitude of motorsports personalities, and a sizable contingent of local, national and international media.

Drivers who will compete for Fastest Rookie honors, their hometowns, car numbers and teams include:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]#2 AJ Allmendinger
Los Gatos, California
IZOD Team Penske

#26 Carlos Munoz
Bogota, Colombia
Unistraw Chevrolet Andretti Autosport[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]#41 Conor Daly
Noblesville, Indiana
ABC Supply Co. – AJ Foyt Racing

#55 Tristan Vautier
Corenc, France
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Last year’s Fastest Rookie award recipient was Sarah Fisher Racing’s Josef Newgarden. He captured top honors with a four-lap average speed of 224.677 mph. Among others who have their names on the Fastest Rookie of the Year trophy are Indy 500 winners Rick Mears, Eddie Cheever Jr., Jacques Villeneuve, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Scott Dixon. Tony Stewart, Chip Ganassi, Jimmy Vasser, Michael Andretti, Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan, Danica Patrick, and JR Hildebrand also are among award recipients.

The May 21 event will begin with an 11 am reception, followed by lunch at 11:45. The program and presentation of awards begin at 12:30 pm. The winning rookie’s name and speed are engraved on a trophy on permanent display in the Speedway’s Hall of Fame Museum. He also receives a plaque and $5000 cash award.

Event hosts include members of the board of directors of Milk Promotion Services of Indiana (MPSI): president Donald Gurtner of Fremont, Indiana; vice president Paul Mills of Ossian, Indiana; treasurer Steve Phares, Albion, Indiana, and Haubstadt, Indiana’s Anita Schmitt, secretary. MPSI general manager Deb Osza of Lapel, Indiana and her staff also will be on hand to welcome guests.

Vince Welch, a member of the ESPN on ABC Sports television crew set to cover the May 26 race, will emcee the Fastest Rookie luncheon for the 15th consecutive year. Guests will enjoy a video presentation documenting the rookie drivers’ first year at Indy and showcasing the Indiana dairy industry. Both the Fastest Rookie trophy and the iconic Borg-Warner Trophy will be on display, courtesy of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. Guests will get an up-close look at the Winning Driver milk bottle destined for presentation to the champion of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in Victory Circle on Race Day. An additional attraction will come from Purdue Dairy Sciences again this year – several very special guests, in fact!

The Fastest Rookie of the Year is one of the Speedway’s longest running programs under the same sponsorship since its inception – second only to Borg-Warner. It is one of two programs that continues the long association between the Hoosier dairy industry and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Bottle of Milk presented to the winner of the 500-mile classic has been a traditional part of the Victory Circle ceremony for nearly 80 years – 58 of which have been consecutive.

The legendary Louis Meyer, the race’s first three-time winner (1928, ’33, ’36) is recognized as the driver who began the tradition by requesting a cold drink of buttermilk – his favorite beverage – following his victory in 1933. Three years later, Meyer was photographed drinking milk in Victory Lane. Milk was presented off and on during the next several years until, in 1956, the Bottle of Milk was made a permanent part of the post-race celebration by Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Anton “Tony” Hulman.

The bottles have become prized possessions of race winners, who also receive a $10,000 cash prize for enjoying that long, refreshing, nutritious post-race drink of milk in Victory Circle. This year’s champion will be greeted in Victory Circle by the American Dairy Association of Indiana’s 2013 “Milkmen” – Hoosier dairy farmers Duane Hill and Ken Hoeing. Hill, from Fountain City and Hoeing, from Rushville, also will attend the Fastest Rookie Luncheon.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]