Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year

Winners of the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Award, first awarded in 1952. No official award was given from 1911 to 1951, even though at least one rookie starter has been present in every running of the Indianapolis 500. The award is voted on by a panel of judges, which is composed of selected members of the media, historians, and a handful of other experts. The voting takes place the night of the race (or the morning after), and does not necessarily go to the highest-finishing rookie. Noteworthy accomplishments during qualifying, regardless of the respective race result, have frequently been a factor in voting. A rookie who competitively runs up front during the race, passes many cars, and/or leads laps (but ultimately drops out) can also garner consideration over another rookie who finished higher, but did so merely by surviving attrition. Other contributing attributes can include personal attitude, sportsmanship, professionalism, and interaction with driver coaches, fans, and media. Years in which two drivers are listed indicate co-winners, due to a tie in the final voting.

Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year
Original Stark and Wetzel Rookie of the Year Award trophy on display at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.
SportIndy Car Racing
CompetitionIndianapolis 500
DisciplineNTT IndyCar Series
Awarded forOutstanding performance by a rookie driver at the Indianapolis 500
First award1952
First winnerUnited States Art Cross
Most recentUnited States Jimmie Johnson

The Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year award has been sponsored by the following companies:

This award is separate from the annual IndyCar Rookie of the Year Award presented by IndyCar, as well as the Jim Trueman Award (rookie of the year) which was handed out by CART. The current award is $25,000 cash and a plaque.[1] In the early years, when Stark & Wetzel sponsored the award, the prize package included $500 in cash, and a year's supply of meat.[2]

Definition of a "Rookie"Edit

The term "rookie" (or newcomer) at the Indianapolis 500 can at times be misleading. According to race rules, a rookie is defined as any driver who has never qualified for the race and/or has never been on the track during the pace lap, and officially credited with a start. Several unique situations have created confusion, among the many include:

  • In 1911, the first Indianapolis 500, all 40 participants are considered rookies. However, at least 23 of the 40 starters had previously participated in early events at the Speedway in 1909 and 1910. Therefore, in the first 500, there were actually only seventeen complete newcomers to the Speedway. In addition, four other drivers who raced in the 500 in subsequent years, had previous experience at the Speedway in 1909 and 1910.[3] Inaugural 500 winner Ray Harroun had actually won a total of 7 races at the IMS through 1909 and 1910, including the 200 mile Wheeler-Schebler Trophy Race on Memorial Day Weekend in 1910.
  • In 1927, Louis Meyer did not qualify for the race, but served as a relief driver. He first qualified on his own in 1928, and was considered a rookie when he won that race.
  • Bill Puterbaugh had a notable streak of failing to qualify for the race six times from 1968 to 1974, before finally making the race for the first time in 1975. He was still scored a rookie for the 1975 race, and his 7th-place finish earned him the Rookie of the Year award.
  • "Uncle" Jacques Villeneuve qualified for the 1984 race, but crashed in practice. He was not cleared to drive, and was forced to withdraw, and not credited with a start. He returned in 1985, but a crash early in the month prevented him from making a qualifying attempt. In 1986, he qualified and started the race (his third year overall), where he was considered a rookie, and still eligible for the award (he did not win). Members of the media lightheartedly referred to him as "the veteran rookie."
  • Affonso Giaffone was a rookie when he first qualified for the 1997 race. As the safety car entered pit lane to start the race, the entire Row 5 where he was starting was involved in an incident in Turn 4 headed to the start, and never saw the green flag to take the start. All three drivers were credited with 0 laps, having taken the track for the pace lap, but not having taken the start. Had he returned in a subsequent year, despite never actually starting the race, he would not have been considered a rookie again.

The term "rookie" can also confuse spectators, as it suggests a young, inexperienced competitor. In reality, it can be a mis-nomer, since several experienced champions of other forms of motorsports have come to Indy and been ruled a rookie because of their first start in the 500 only. Formula One and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup champions were still scored as "rookies" in their first starts.

  • Graham Hill was considered a rookie winner when he won in his first start (1966). However, Hill had already won the 1962 World Championship going into the race.
  • In 1993, reigning Formula 1 World Champion Nigel Mansell left the international series to sign with the Newman-Haas race team for the entire CART season and the Indy 500. He contended for the win late in the race before finishing 3rd, and earned Rookie of the Year honors as perhaps the highest-profile "rookie" in the race's history.
  • In 2012, longtime Formula One veterans Rubens Barrichello and Jean Alesi were by rule, considered race "rookies." Barrichello won the Rookie of the Year award.
  • In the wake of the CART/IRL split in 1996, several drivers who first arrived at Indy in the early 2000s had been experienced fixtures of the CART circuit. Juan Pablo Montoya was the 1999 CART champion, but when he raced at Indy for the first time and won in 2000, he was still considered by definition, a "rookie." A similar situation occurred for Hélio Castroneves a year later. After experience in three seasons in the CART series, Castroneves attempted Indy for the first time in 2001. He won the 2001 race, also scored as a rookie. He would go on to win the 2002 race also, becoming the first driver to win the race in his first two starts.
  • After the Open-wheel unification in 2008, several former Champ Car drivers arrived at Indy for the first time. All were scored as rookies, despite several having multiple years of experience in major-league Open-wheel racing.
  • Despite his status as the 2007 INDYCAR Rookie of the Year, Ryan Hunter-Reay was declared a 2008 Indianapolis 500 rookie, because he had not started the race during his rookie season.
  • In the 2014 and 2022 races, NASCAR Cup Series champions Kurt Busch (2004 champion, 2014 race) and Jimmie Johnson (2006-10, 2013, 2016 champion, 2022 race) were, by rule, considered rookies.
  • The 2017 rookie of the year, Fernando Alonso was already a two-time Formula One World Champion when he won the award.
  • 2019 NTT IndyCar Series rookie driver Patricio O'Ward failed to qualify for the 2019 race and is signed with McLaren Schmidt-Peterson for the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season. He will be declared a race rookie for the 2020 race, must take the entire rookie test, and be eligible for the award.

Rookie of the Year award winnersEdit

Year Driver Start Qualifying Speed
Finish Race details
1952   Art Cross 20 134.288 5 A total of 8 rookies qualified in 1952, the first instance which the Rookie of the year was to be given. Four rookies finished in the top 12, with Art Cross, Jimmy Bryan, and Jimmy Reece charging from 20th/21st/23rd starting positions to finish finishing 5th–6th-7th respectively. Cross was the highest finishing rookie, about 44 seconds ahead of Bryan.
1953   Jimmy Daywalt 21 135.747 6 Six rookies drove in the 1953 race, on a brutally hot afternoon. Daywalt went the entire 500 miles without relief help, and finished 6th. He was the highest finishing rookie, about two minutes ahead of Ernie McCoy.
1954   Larry Crockett 25 139.557 9 Crockett was the only rookie (out of 6) to go the full 500 miles, doing so without relief help.
1955   Al Herman 16 139.811 7 Only 2 of 8 rookies were running at the finish. Herman was the top-finishing rookie, and the only one to go the full 500 miles.
1956   Bob Veith 23 142.535 7 Veith was the top finishing rookie, and the only one to go the full 500 miles.
1957   Don Edmunds 27 140.449 19 None of the five rookies were running at the finish. Edmunds spun out after completing 170 laps. Fellow rookie Eddie Sachs qualified for the middle of the front row, but dropped out with a fuel leak on lap 105.
1958   George Amick 25 142.710 2 Amick led three times for 18 laps, and was the highest finishing rookie since the Rookie of the Year award started being given.
1959   Bobby Grim 5 144.225 26 Grim qualified 5th and won rookie of the year despite dropping out before the halfway point. Three others finished ahead of him.
1960   Jim Hurtubise 23 149.056 18 Hurtubise was the fastest overall qualifier in the field. On the second weekend of time trials, he set a four-lap track record at 149.056 mph.
1961   Bobby Marshman 33 144.293 7 Jones led two times for 27 laps. However, Marshman charged from last starting position to finish 7th, and for the first time, "co-winners" were awarded.
  Parnelli Jones 5 146.080 12
1962   Jim McElreath 7 149.025 6 Five rookies made the field, with McElreath starting 7th and finishing 6th, the best of all five. None of the other four rookies made it beyond the halfway point. Dan Gurney started 8th, but dropped out with a broken rear end.
1963   Jim Clark 5 149.750 2 Clark led 28 laps.
1964   Johnny White 21 150.893 4 A total of seven rookies made the field. Four were running at the finish, with White finishing 4th, and the only one to complete the full 200 laps. Rookie Dave MacDonald was fatally injured in the major crash with Eddie Sachs on lap 2, and fellow rookie Ronnie Duman became caught up in the accident as well.
1965   Mario Andretti 4 158.849 3 Andretti briefly sat on the pole position with a new track record qualifying speed at the time. Eventually his time was bested, and he started 4th on race day.
1966   Jackie Stewart 11 159.972 6 Stewart led 40 laps during the race, and had a lap lead on the field late in the race. On the 191st lap, he slowed due to low oil pressure, and parked the car. That handed the lead over to another rookie, Graham Hill, who led the final nine laps en route to victory. Even though Hill won the race as a rookie starter, Stewart's performance earned him enough votes to win the rookie of the year award.
1967   Denis Hulme 24 163.376 4 Two rookies were running at the finish, with Hulme charging from 24th starting position to finish 4th. Rookie Art Pollard started 13th, but managed only 8th on race day.
1968   Bill Vukovich II 23 163.510 7 Rookies Bill Vukovich II, Mike Mosley, and Sammy Sessions finished 7th–8th-9th, respectively. Vukovich, son of the 1953–1954 winner, completed 198 laps, and despite tangling with Mel Kenyon just after the halfway point, finished a lap ahead of Mosley and Sessions.
1969   Mark Donohue 4 168.903 7 Donohue (7th place) won the rookie of the year award, despite finishing ten laps behind fellow rookie Peter Revson (5th place). Voters took into account the fact that Donohue (who started 4th) had to make a lengthy pit stop early on, but his race pace was much faster. Revson, who started last, lost a cylinder, and due to the high attrition rate, was able to cruise around to a largely uncontested 5th-place finish.[4]
1970   Donnie Allison 23 165.662 4 Three of the four rookies were running at the end, with Donnie Allison (a NASCAR regular) charging from 23rd starting position to an impressive 4th-place finish.
1971   Denny Zimmerman 28 169.755 8 Zimmerman was the only rookie (out of 4) running at the finish.
1972   Mike Hiss 25 179.015 7 Out of 8 rookies, Sam Posey qualified 7th and finished 5th with 198 laps. But Hiss charged from 26th to 7th, completing 196 laps.
1973   Graham McRae 13 192.031 16 Three rookies made the field, with Bobby Allison the qualifying fastest (12th); but McRae was only one position slower than Allison (13th). Allison completed only one lap, while McRae was credited with 92 laps before dropping out with a broken header, but was by far the highest finishing rookie. Jerry Karl completed only 22 laps, but was still officially running at the finish, as his team made lengthy repairs to a mechanical issue.
1974   Pancho Carter 21 180.605 7 Only two rookies were running at the finish. Carter was 9 laps down in 7th, while Tom Bigelow finished 12th completing 166 laps. On lap 141, Carter spun in turn one and nearly took out race leader Johnny Rutherford. No cars made contact, and Carter continued undamaged.
1975   Bill Puterbaugh 15 183.833 7 Puterbaugh was the fastest rookie qualifier, and had tried for seven years to make the field.
1976   Vern Schuppan 17 182.011 18 Out of only four rookies, Schuppan started furthest up on the grid and finished the highest. He was 5 laps down in 18th pace when the race was called for rain on lap 102.
1977   Jerry Sneva 16 186.616 10 Of seven rookies in the field, Sneva (the brother of pole-sitter Tom Sneva) was the only one running at the finish, as well as the only one to make it beyond the halfway point.
1978   Larry Rice 30 187.393 11 Mears became the first rookie to qualify on the front row since Eddie Sachs in 1957. Rice charged from 30th starting position to finish 11th. Initial voting ended in a tie. At the victory banquet, it was discovered that two of the voters had split their votes. They could not decide whom to vote for, and put both Rice and Mears on their respective ballots. Officials requested that those two voters re-vote, and they both agreed. One voted for Rice, and the other voted for Mears, and a tie still prevailed. Officials at that point declared co-winners.
  Rick Mears 3 200.078 23
1979   Howdy Holmes 13 185.864 7 Holmes was the only rookie that qualified for the field. Seven rookies entered the month and took rookie tests, and a total of four made qualifying attempts. Dana Carter was bumped; while the qualifying attempts of Dick Ferguson and Bill Alsup were disallowed due to rules infractions. That left Holmes the lone rookie, this despite a special qualifying session the day before the race which gave participants one extra chance to make the field.
1980   Tim Richmond 19 188.334 9 Richmond, the fastest rookie qualifier, led one lap during the race. Richmond set the fastest practice lap of the month (193.507 mph), but a crash on pole day morning prevented him from qualifying during the pole round. Richmond ran out of fuel at the head of the mainstretch at the finish, and was credited with 9th position. Race winner Johnny Rutherford famously gave Richmond a ride back to the pit area. Richmond bested nine other rookies in the field – with three others finishing 10th, 11th, and 13th, respectively.
1981   Josele Garza 6 195.101 23 Garza led two times for 13 laps before crashing out of the race. Kevin Cogan (4th), however, was the highest-finishing of the ten rookies in the field.
1982   Jim Hickman 24 196.217 7 Hickman was the highest finishing rookie. He was killed in a crash at Milwaukee about two months later.
1983   Teo Fabi 1 207.395 26 Fabi became the first rookie to win the pole position since 1950, and first since the Rookie of the Year award had been established. He led the first 23 laps of the race. Fellow rookie Al Unser Jr. finished in the top ten.
1984   Roberto Guerrero 7 205.707 2 Three rookies (Guerrero, Andretti, and Al Holbert) finished in the top five. Guerrero was the highest finishing rookie since 1966.
  Michael Andretti 4 207.805 5
1985   Arie Luyendyk 20 206.004 7 Two rookies (Luyendyk and Ed Pimm) finished in the top ten.
1986   Randy Lanier 13 209.964 10 Lanier (the 1984 IMSA champion) was also the fastest rookie qualifier. He was the only rookie out of four running at the finish.
1987   Fabrizio Barbazza 17 208.038 3 Three rookies (Barbazza, Stan Fox, and Jeff MacPherson) finished in the top ten, with Barbazza the highest at third, two laps down. Barbazza's day was not without incident, as he did a complete spin in the second half of the race, avoiding contact with the wall.
1988   Bill Vukovich III 23 208.545 14 Vukovich, the first third-generation starter, was the second-fastest rookie qualifier, and the only rookie (of 5) still running at the finish (albeit 21 laps down).
1989   Bernard Jourdain 20 213.105 9 Jourdain and Pruett had nearly identical months of May in terms of performance. They qualified close together, raced near each other all day, and finished together.
  Scott Pruett 17 213.995 10
1990   Eddie Cheever 14 217.926 8 Two out of the three rookies in the race were running at the finish, with Cheever qualifying fastest and finishing the highest.
1991   Jeff Andretti 11 217.632 15 Only one rookie was running at the finish, Hiro Matsushita, however, after repairs, he was running 51 laps behind. Jeff Andretti dropped out of the race, but was actually scored one place higher than Matsushita. Andretti had actually attempted to qualify for the race in 1990, but was bumped. Therefore, 1991 was his second overall attempt.
1992   Lyn St. James 27 220.150 11 St. James was the first female rookie of the year, and the only rookie out of six still running at the finish.
1993   Nigel Mansell 8 220.255 3 Mansell (the reigning Formula One World Champion) led three times for 34 laps, and was leading on a restart with 16 laps to go. He was passed on the restart, and fell to third, and despite brushing the wall a few laps later, held on to finish the race in third position.
1994   Jacques Villeneuve 4 226.259 2 Villeneuve qualified as the fastest rookie, led the race two times for 7 laps, and was the only other entrant to finish on the lead lap.
1995   Christian Fittipaldi 27 226.375 2 Fittipaldi finished second (the second year in a row a rookie finished 2nd). Two of the six rookies were eliminated in the crash on the first lap.
1996   Tony Stewart 1 233.100 24 Veteran Scott Brayton won the pole position and Stewart qualified second. Six days after pole day, Brayton was fatally injured during a practice crash. Brayton was replaced by driver Danny Ongais, and the car was required to start at the rear of the field. Stewart, who was second, was elevated to the pole position on race day. He led the first 31 laps of the race, and 44 overall before dropping out with engine trouble.
1997   Jeff Ward 7 214.517 3 Ward led two times for 49 laps, and led as late as lap 192 before ducking into the pits for fuel, and finishing third.
1998   Steve Knapp 23 216.445 3 Six out of the eight rookies were still running at the finish, with Knapp the lone rookie on the lead lap.
1999   Robby McGehee 27 220.139 5 Only four rookies qualified, and two dropped out. McGehee was just 1 lap down at the finish while John Hollansworth Jr. was 8 laps down in 13th.
2000   Juan Pablo Montoya 2 223.372 1 Montoya was the first rookie winner since 1966, and the first race winner to actually be awarded the Rookie of the Year award in the same year.
2001   Hélio Castroneves 11 224.142 1 Castroneves was the second rookie in a row to win the race and the Rookie of the Year award together.
2002   Alex Barron 26 228.580 4 Scheckter led the most laps (85), and turned the fastest lap of the race. He, however, crashed out on lap 173 while leading the race. Barron was the only rookie out of nine to finish on the lead lap.
  Tomas Scheckter 10 229.210 26
2003   Tora Takagi 7 229.358 5 Takagi led two laps.
2004   Kosuke Matsuura 9 220.740 11 Matsuura was the fastest rookie qualifier, and the only rookie running on the lead lap when the race was officially called for rain after 180 laps (450 miles).
2005   Danica Patrick 4 227.004 4 During practice, Patrick ran the fastest practice lap of the month, and was a favorite for the front row. During her qualifying attempt, Patrick's car slipped in the first turn, and she settled for 4th starting position as the fastest rookie. Had she not slipped, she may have been fast enough to qualify for the pole position. On race day, she led three times for 19 laps. She was leading as late as 6 laps to go before finishing 4th.
2006   Marco Andretti 9 224.918 2 Marco Andretti, the fastest rookie qualifier, was leading the race with one lap to go. He was passed by Sam Hornish Jr. on the mainstrech on the final lap, about 450 feet from the finish line, in the second-closest finish in Indy 500 history.
2007   Phil Giebler 33 219.637 29 Only two rookies qualified, the fewest since 1979. Giebler was chosen as the best newcomer for the month, as the fastest rookie qualifier and highest finishing rookie. This despite crashing during his first qualifying attempt, and again during the race on lap 106 while running 19th. The other rookie, Milka Duno, wrecked earlier in the race. Giebler's 29th-place finishing position is the lowest ever for a rookie of the year selection.
2008   Ryan Hunter-Reay 20 221.579 6 Eleven rookies were part of the field, including several former Champ Car drivers following the open wheel unification. Hunter-Reay, the 2007 IndyCar Series rookie of the year, spent most of the day near the top ten, and was the highest running rookie at the finish, finishing one spot higher than the fastest rookie qualifier, Hideki Mutoh. Hunter-Reay was eligible for the award, despite being a second-year driver in the series, by virtue of the fact that he did not participate at Indy previously.
2009   Alex Tagliani 33 221.115 11 Tagliani was bumped from the field in the final minutes of Bump Day. A day later, his teammate Bruno Junqueira was removed from his ride, and Tagliani replaced him behind the wheel. Rules forced the car to start from the rear of the field. On race day, Tagliani charged quickly up the standings, and by the midpoint, was running 11th. After running as high as 10th, Tagliani was the highest finishing rookie. There was some mild controversy about voting for Tagliani due to the fact that he did not qualify, but he won the award nonetheless, and became the first driver to win the award despite not qualifying for the race.
2010   Simona de Silvestro 22 224.228 14 Six rookies qualified for the race, and four were running at the finish. Simona de Silvestro was one of two female rookies (Ana Beatriz was the other), and qualified in the top 24 cars on pole day. She officially finished one position lower than Mario Romancini, who was the fastest rookie qualifier (started 27th), and the highest finishing rookie (13th). de Silvestro became the third female to win the award.
2011   J. R. Hildebrand 12 225.579 2 After fuel strategies shuffled the leaders in the waning laps, Hildebrand took the lead with three laps to go, and appeared to be on his way to victory. On the final turn of the final lap, he was approaching the slower car of Charlie Kimball, got into the "marbles," and crashed into the outside wall. His car slid down the frontstretch, but in the final 1,000 feet, Dan Wheldon slipped by and took the checkered flag. Hildebrand's wrecked car coasted across the line to finish 2nd.
2012   Rubens Barrichello 10 224.264 11 Josef Newgarden was the fastest rookie qualifier, but Barrichello was the highest finishing rookie. He led two laps during the race.
2013   Carlos Muñoz 2 228.342 2 Muñoz, in his first IndyCar race, led the speed chart during practice twice, and qualified in the middle of the front row. On race day, he led 12 laps, and finished 2nd.
2014   Kurt Busch 12 230.782 6 A total of seven rookies qualified for the race. Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion made a highly publicized effort at Indianapolis, attempting "Double Duty." Busch was the fastest rookie qualifier, posting the 10th-fastest speed on the first day of time trials, then later qualifying for the 12th starting position. On race day, Busch did not lead any laps, but finished 6th on the lead lap. The next best rookie was Sage Karam, who charged from 31st to 9th. Karam received praise from some observers who thought he was more deserving of consideration.[5]
2015   Gabby Chaves 26 222.916 16 Only two rookies qualified for the race, Chaves and Stefano Coletti. Chaves started and finished higher, while Coletti crashed out. Chaves ran as high as 8th during one point in the race.
2016   Alexander Rossi 11 228.473 1 Rossi became the third rookie to win the race and the Rookie of the Year award together. He started the highest out of the 5 rookies in the field, and was the only one to lead laps (14) as well.
2017   Fernando Alonso
231.300 24 Two-time Formula 1 World Champion came to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2017 and qualified in the middle of the second row of the grid as the fastest rookie qualifier. He led 27 laps in the race before retiring due to an engine failure. Fellow rookie Ed Jones finished in 3rd position.
2018   Robert Wickens 18 226.296 9 Third Canadian rookie of the year, after Jacques Villeneuve and Alex Tagliani. Wickens was the slowest qualifying of the 4 rookies in the field, but was the highest finishing of the group. Less than three months later, Wickens' IndyCar career was cut short after a serious crash at Pocono.
2019   Santino Ferrucci
227.731 7 Ferrucci had the second fastest time in Carb Day practice, and was the only rookie (out of 6) to complete all 500 miles.
2020   Patricio O'Ward
230.213 6 Third Mexican rookie of the year, after Josele Garza and Bernard Jourdain. O'Ward was fastest during Carb Day practice and ran as high as third during the race. He was the only rookie out of 5 to complete all 500 miles.
2021   Scott McLaughlin
230.557 20 Only two rookies qualified out of three entered. McLaughlin ran in the top 10 at one point in the race before a pit-lane speeding penalty dropped him down the order.
2022   Jimmie Johnson
231.264 28 Four-time Indianapolis NASCAR Cup Series winner Jimmie Johnson (2006, 2008, 2009, 2012) qualified outside of row four for his first Indy 500. Johnson led 2 laps during the race before crashing after 193 laps. Seven rookies qualified for the race. David Malukas was the highest finishing rookie in 16th place. Johnson surpassed Lyn St. James as the oldest rookie of the year at the Indianapolis 500.

Drivers to win award and race (chronologically)Edit

Driver Rookie of
the Year
  Parnelli Jones 1961 1963
  Jim Clark 1963 1965
  Mario Andretti 1965 1969
  Mark Donohue 1969 1972
  Rick Mears 1978 1979, 1984, 1988, 1991
  Arie Luyendyk 1985 1990, 1997
  Eddie Cheever 1990 1998
  Jacques Villeneuve 1994 1995
  Juan Pablo Montoya 2000 2000, 2015
  Hélio Castroneves 2001 2001, 2002, 2009, 2021
  Ryan Hunter-Reay 2008 2014
  Alexander Rossi 2016 2016

Rookie winnersEdit

Officially ten drivers have won the Indianapolis 500 in their first attempt. In 1928, Louis Meyer won the race in his first start, but he had driven relief in the race a year earlier. In the first race in 1911, all drivers were considered "rookies," even though at least 23 of the 40 starters had previously driven in other races at the track in 1909–1910.

Fastest rookie qualifierEdit

Since 1975, a separate award has been presented to the fastest rookie qualifier in the field. It has been sponsored by the American Dairy Association Indiana Inc. since its inception.[6] The award goes to the rookie who posts the fastest four-lap qualifying average during official time trials – regardless of overall starting position, and regardless of day in which the qualifying run was completed. The award is currently $5,000 cash and a plaque. It is presented at a luncheon a few days before the race.[7] Each other rookie in the field receives $250. The names of the winners are affixed to a permanent trophy on display at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. Although rookies have qualified for every race dating back to 1911, this particular award has been officially recognized only since 1975.

In 2009, the award celebrated its 35th consecutive year of continuous sponsorship by the American Dairy Association Indiana Inc.. From 2010 to 2021 (except for 2015), qualifying was conducted utilizing two rounds. In those cases, the fastest rookie qualifier award was based on the first-round qualifying speed only. In 2022, qualifying was conducted over three rounds and the award was given based on the final overall outcome.


Works citedEdit

  • 2006 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race Program


  1. ^ Kelly, Paul (2013-05-27). "Kanaan Earns $2.3 Million For Winning 97th Indianapolis 500". Retrieved 2014-04-11.
  2. ^ Davidson, Donald (May 22, 1997). "Rookie of the year were once rewarded with $500 and a year's supply of meat". The Indianapolis Star. p. 44. Retrieved January 25, 2018 – via 
  3. ^ Scott, D. Bruce (2005). Indy: Racing Before The 500 (First ed.). Indiana Reflections, LLC. p. 231. ISBN 0-9766149-0-1.
  4. ^ The Talk of Gasoline AlleyWFNI, May 23, 2013
  5. ^ DiZinno, Tony (May 27, 2014). "The 2014 Indy 500 rookie voting should have been fit to be tied". Motorsports Talk. NBC Sports. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  6. ^ "Fastest Rookie". American Dairy Association Indiana, Inc. Archived from the original on September 20, 2013. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  7. ^ Kightlinger, Cathy (2013-05-21). "Indy 500 starter Carlos Munoz honored at Fastest Rookie of the Year lunch". Retrieved 2014-04-11.

See alsoEdit