INDIANAPOLIS – Former Formula One competitor Romain Grosjean was honored on Tuesday, May 24 by American Dairy Association Indiana (ADAI) as recipient of the 48th annual Fastest Rookie of the Year Award.
The 36-year old from Geneva, Switzerland posted a four-lap average speed of 231.999 mph in Car No. 28 DHL/Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda/ Firestone, good for a starting spot outside Row Three for Sunday’s race. He was guest of honor at the Fastest Rookie awards celebration this afternoon, an event attended by representatives of the dairy industry from throughout Indiana and the US, motorsports personalities, local, national and international media, and other invited guests. The event was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Pagoda Plaza Pavilion.
ADAI has sponsored the Fastest Rookie award since its inception in 1975, making it one of the longest running programs under the same sponsorship at IMS, second only to Borg-Warner.
Five additional drivers among the 2022 rookie class also attended the awards luncheon: Kyle Kirkwood, David Malukas, Devlin DeFrancesco, Christian Lundgaard and Callum Ilott.
Event hosts included members of the ADAI board of directors: president Richard Thomas of Middlebury, Indiana; vice president Janet Dague of Kewanna; secretary Anita Schmitt, Evansville, and treasurer Tim Haynes, Garrett. ADAI CEO Jenni Browning of Carmel and Indianapolis Mayor Joseph Hogsett also attended.
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. In addition to the inscription on the permanent Fastest Rookie trophy on display in the IMS Museum, Grosjean 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 66 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 2022 Milk Men – Hoosier dairy farmers Tim Haynes of Superior Dairy, Garrett, Indiana, and Kerry Estes of Fountaintown, Indiana’s Estes Family Farm. Both Haynes and Estes participated in Fastest Rookie festivities.