INDIANAPOLIS – Pietro Fittipaldi – grandson of two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Emerson Fittipaldi – was honored today (Tues, May 25) by American Dairy Association Indiana (ADAI) as recipient of the 47th annual Fastest Rookie of the Year Award.
The 24-year old from Sao Paulo, Brazil posted a four-lap average speed of 230.846 mph in Car No. 51 Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware RacingDallara/Honda/ Firestone, good for a starting spot inside row five for Sunday’s race. He was guest of honor at the Fastest Rookie virtual awards celebration this afternoon, an event that was viewed by hundreds of representatives of the dairy industry from throughout Indiana and the US, motorsports personalities and local, national and international media. The celebration was transitioned from its usual luncheon format to a virtual program again this year due to COVID-19 concerns.
ADAI has sponsored the Fastest Rookie award since its inception in 1975, making it one of Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s longest running programs under the same sponsorship, second only to Borg-Warner.
The only other rookie driver in this year’s field – Team Penske’s ScottMcLaughlin of Christchurch, New Zealand – also participated via live link.
Event hosts included members of the board of directors of American Dairy Association Indiana: president Richard Thomas of Middlebury, Indiana; vice president Janet Dague of Kewanna; and treasurer Tim Haynes of Garrett. ADAI chief executive officer Jenni Browning of Carmel alsoparticipated. Video greetings from Joe Hogsett, Mayor of the City of Indianapolis, and Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Doug Bolescongratulated the first-year drivers and recognized the long partnership between the Speedway and the Hoosier dairy industry.
Indianapolis sports commentators Derek Schultz and Jake Query, a member of the IMS Radio Network, emceed the event and led conversation among the rookie drivers and a special guest – former Fastest Rookie and two-time IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden.
Recently retired Indianapolis Motor Speedway historian Donald Davidsonalso was honored by ADAI during the event with presentation of an engraved milk bottle.
In addition to the inscription on the permanent Fastest Rookie trophy on display in the IMS Museum, Fittipaldi received a custom-designed plaque and $10,000 cash award from the dairy association.
The Fastest Rookie of the Year award is one of two programs that continues the long association between the Indiana dairy industry and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The beloved Bottle of Milk presented to the winner of the 500-mile classic has been a part of Victory Circle ceremonies for portions of ten decades – including 65 consecutive years.
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 glass 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 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, ice-cold swig of milk. This year’s champion will be greeted in Victory
Circle by American Dairy Association Indiana’s 2021 Milk Presenters, Hoosier dairy farmers Jill Houin of Homestead Dairy in Plymouth, Indianaand Tim Haynes, Superior Dairy, Garrett, Indiana. Both Houin and Haynes participated in Fastest Rookie festivities today.