FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
INDIANAPOLIS – Seven Indianapolis 500 first-year drivers from around the globe will vie for the 40th annual Fastest Rookie of the Year Award presented by American Dairy Association Indiana (ADAI) and its Hoosier dairy farm families.
ADAI has sponsored the Fastest Rookie award since its inception in 1975, making it one of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s longest running programs under the same sponsorship, second only to Borg-Warner.
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 20 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 large contingent of local, national and international media.
Drivers competing for 2014 Fastest Rookie honors, their hometowns, car numbers and teams are:#7 Mikhail Aleshin
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
#18 Carlos Huertas
Dale Coyne Racing
#22 Sage Karam
Nazareth, Pennsylvania USA
Dreyer and Reinbold – Kingdom Racing
#98 Jack Hawksworth
BHA/BBM with Curb Agajanian.
#26 Kurt Busch
Las Vegas, Nevada USA
#33 James Davison
KV Racing Technology
#41 Martin Plowman
AJ Foyt Enterprises Last year’s Fastest Rookie award recipient was Andretti Autosport’s Carlos Munoz, who captured top honors with a four-lap average speed of 228.342 mph. Munoz started from the middle of Row 1 and finished the “500” in second place behind winner Tony Kanaan, himself a former “Fastest Rookie.” Other drivers to have their names on the Fastest Rookie of the Year trophy, on permanent display in the Speedway’s Hall of Fame Museum, include Indy 500 winners Rick Mears, Eddie Cheever Jr., Jacques Villeneuve, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Scott Dixon. Also among award recipients are Tony Stewart, Chip Ganassi, Jimmy Vasser, Michael Andretti, Marco Andretti, Danica Patrick, JR Hildebrand, and Josef Newgarden.
The May 20 event begins with an 11 am reception, followed by lunch at 11:45. The program and presentation of awards begin at 12:30 pm. In addition to the inscription on the trophy, the winning rookie receives a newly redesigned plaque and $5000 cash award.
Event hosts include members of the board of directors of American Dairy Association Indiana: 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. ADAI 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 25 race, will emcee the Fastest Rookie luncheon for the 16th consecutive year. Guests will enjoy a video presentation documenting the rookie drivers’ first year at Indy and showcasing the Hoosier dairy industry. Both the Fastest Rookie trophy and the iconic Borg-Warner Trophy will be on display, courtesy of the Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.
Among guests will be Jean Ragalie, National Dairy Council president and Julia Kadison, interim CEO of MilkPEP, representing the Great American Milk Drive. This initiative enables the public to donate gallons of fluid milk to local food pantries via a simple text. A “mass milk give” is planned during the Fastest Rookie luncheon.
The Fastest Rookie award 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 – 59 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 dinking 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. This year’s champion will be greeted in Victory Circle by the American Dairy Association Indiana’s 2014 “Milkmen” – Hoosier dairy farmers Ken Hoeing of Rush County, and Alan Wright, Muncie. Both Hoeing and Wright will attend the Fastest Rookie luncheon.