Indy 500 ROP begins today, and a chance to drive the normal way at IMS


Sage Karam’s only 19 and not even a high school graduate yet, but he’s already summed up the magnitude of what the official Rookie Orientation Program for the Indianapolis 500 is like in one tweet:

Karam, along with Mikhail Aleshin, Martin Plowman and Jack Hawksworth are the true rookies who will be going through that process today on the IMS 2.5-mile oval.

Jacques Villeneuve, the 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner and Kurt Busch, who is an Indy 500 rookie but a definite “rookie in name only,” completed their round of testing last week. Busch is still scheduled to test today.

Although there was the round of road course testing last week, ROP in May is something of an official kickoff to the month of May.

There has been talk of a couple other potential Indianapolis 500 rookies making their debut this year. Dale Coyne’s Carlos Huertas is expected to race the Grand Prix of Indianapolis this weekend, but has not been confirmed for the ‘500.

Meanwhile Stefan Wilson and James Davison are known to be pursuing options to make their ‘500 dreams a reality.

But for those three, without confirmed deals today, they’ll miss this official ROP and would need to complete the process on another date.

That adds an extra layer of intrigue.