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Jakes only rookie still to complete Indy orientation

All seven rookies required to undertake rookie orientation ahead of the 2011 Indy 500 have passed the mandatory phases of the program for Thursday, but James Jakes still has some work left to do next week.
Six of the seven rookies new to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in an IndyCar have successfully completed the entire mandatory Rookie Orientation Program (ROP), clearing their way to participate in practice and qualifying for the centennial Indianapolis 500.

James Jakes (Dale Coyne Racing) still has the fourth and final phase of ROP to complete after suffering some teething mechanical problems during the session, but having passed the other three phases he is allowed to do that during any of next week's day-long practice sessions.

Along with Jakes, JR Hildebrand (National Guard Panther Racing), James Hinchcliffe (Newman/Haas Racing), Charlie Kimball (Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing), Pippa Mann (Conquest Racing), Scott Speed (Fuzzy's Vodka Dragon Racing) and Ho-Pin Tung (Schmidt Dragon Racing) all took to the track during the near-six-hour session at IMS on Thursday.

Few of the drivers were expected to have any difficulties with the rookie program. Kimball, Hildebrand, Hinchcliffe and Mann have all driven the Speedway in previous years in the Indy Lights Freedom 100 support race, with Mann even qualifying on pole for the event last year (the first female pole sitter for a major race at IMS.)

James Hinchcliffe recorded the most laps (101), while JR Hildebrand was first to complete and set the quickest lap at 221.533 (on Lap 59 of his 68 for the day). "All done with ROP, no stress," he tweeted, "Now gettin' on with our program for the rest of the day."

Charlie Kimball finished off his four phases before lunch, so they were among those drivers able to use the remaining time to carry on with a program of car and track familiarisation. "Worked through ROP phases and now focused on the rest of the program," he told Twitter.

Pippa Mann tweeted "Completed all 4 phases of ROP and ran 219 without a tow! Pretty happy with that for day 1!" Later, she told the media that "I really enjoyed it. It surprised me how difficult it was to stay within the limits that were set [but] we completed all 35 laps of ROP in 35 laps so the boss is happy."

Scott Speed has also competed here on the oval in the NASCAR Brickyard 400, and in open wheel cars in the now-defunct US F1 Grand Prix (on a modified circuit) so he had little trouble either, leaving only Ho-Pin Tung and James Jakes lacking either oval or IMS experience in their careers to date. Tung - helped by his driver coach Jeff Andretti - quickly polished off the required phases and was the second driver of the day to complete ROP with no problems, but Jakes was the last driver left out on track and ran out of track time before he was able to complete the fourth phase of ROP.

The day started with the drivers being chauffeured round the 2.5 mile oval at a sedate 100 mph in a Chevrolet Impala by the likes of Al Unser Jr. and two-time Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk who were giving their rookie charges some tips and tricks. Then the rookies got to work for themselves.




Related Pictures

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The Dragon Racing team preps the #8 car ahead of the Rookie Orientation Program at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Thursday, May 12 [Photo by Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media]
James Hinchcliffe (CAN - Newman/Haas Racing) relaxed with his team during the Rookie Orientation Program at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Thursday, May 12 [Photo by Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Despite the decals, this is clearly not Ho-Pin Tung: Scott Speed (USA - Dragon Racing) takes over for his first run in an IndyCar in the Rookie Orientation Program at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Thursday, May 12 [Photo by Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Pippa Mann (ENG - Conquest Racing) with her Conquest team during the Rookie Orientation Program at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Thursday, May 12 [Photo by Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media]
Ho-Pin Tung (CHI - Schmidt Dragon Racing) talks over the Rookie Orientation Program with team owner Sam Schmidt at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Thursday, May 12 [Photo by Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Charlie Kimball (USA - Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing) rests during the Rookie Orientation Program at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Thursday, May 12 [Photo by Ron McQueeney for IndyCar Media]
JR Hildebrand (USA - Panther Racing) on track in the #4 National Guard car during the Rookie Orientation Program at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Thursday, May 12 [Photo by Ron McQueeney for IndyCar Media]
James Jakes (ENG - Dale Coyne Racing) in his car ready for the Rookie Orientation Program at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Thursday, May 12 [Photo by Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media]
Team Chevy sweeps the podium as Tony Kanaan (center), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Saturday, August 30, 2014, during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Teammate Scott Dixon (left), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes second, and Ed Carpenter, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes third. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg EllmanLAT for Chevy Racing)
Confetti falls on the podium trio Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Ed Carpenter celebrate after the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Ed Carpenter celebrate after the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon spins during practice (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon streaks across the start/finish line during the Open Test at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon crosses the start/finish line during the Open Test at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon leaves pit lane (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
The confetti flies as Scott Dixon celebrates winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon takes the twin chequered flags to win the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)

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