As will one of these four Drivers be the Top Rookie?
Making up the other Half of our Diverse Indy 500 Rookie Class, Arguably a former Formula 1 Driver is the Biggest Name on this partial roll Call of our total of seven Indianapolis 500 Rookies this year. As You Make the Call on who’s the Bigger Star? Romain Grosjean or Jimmie Johnson?
#28 Andretti Autosport
DOB: 4/17/86, Age: 36
Unless you’ve been living Underneath a Rock or in a Hidey Hole the past year, then you already know about Romain Grosjean’s Amazing escape from his Roman Candle Haas Formula 1 car in Bahrain in November, 2020, which Thankfully He Walked Away from!
Romain quickly became the Darlin of IndyCar last year driving for the Minnowesqe Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing; Oh Vanna, I don’t wanna Buy A vowel, Whew! Scoring his maiden IndyCar Pole position at the Indianapolis Road Corse along with finishing Runner-Up twice there. And making his Oval Debut at Gateway, Err Wide World Technology Raceway last August with great effect.
Yet I’d say the move to Mikey A’s team this year has ratcheted Up the pressure upon Grosjean, and those around Him, like his Engineer Olivier Boisson that came with Him to Andretti Autosport to win! Since we All know how much He and Graham Rahal like each other now, El Correctomundo?
While his first High speed “big” oval race at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) was fairly unimpressive, running Mid-pack at best before retiring with Mechanical woes if I remember correctly.
#29 Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport
DOB: 1/17/00, Age: 22
Cannot Help feeling that Devlin DeFrancesco’s simply making up the Numbers at Mikey A’s four car concern. As the Kuhnuck’ who replaced thee Mayor ‘O Hinchtown’, fellow Kuhnaidiun James Hinchcliffe finished a fairly unimpressive sixth in his lone Indy Lights season before moving up to IndyCar.
And we All know how Devlin won Racer’s Marshall Pruett’s Golden Bowling Ball Award at Texas Motor Speedway, (TMS) where the Hoser’ single handedly took out a total of Five Cars, including Himself in his final Three Car Monty, Err Wreck! As Devlin’s got a single Top 20 Finish to his name in His scant five race IndyCar career, with P17 at Alabama, albeit He seems to have settled down somewhat lately. And being the Innocent victim of Rinus VeeKay’s Spin during the Indy GP Rainfest didn’t help his finishing average either.
#30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
DOB 7/23/01, Age: 20
Really know very little ‘bout Christian Lundgaard, other than so far, it seems He’s been Overhyped after his IndyCar Debut in last August’s Indy GP RASSCAR’ twin Bill, where the Dane’ Qualified a stunning fourth and finished 12th.
Lundgaard began racing Single Seaters in 2017 to great effect, winning that year’s SMP F4 and Spanish F4 championships. Then followed this up with being Runner-up in the 2018 Formula Renault eurocup Championship.
Christian continued his advancement thru the Feeder Series, culminating with a best finish of seventh Overall during his maiden FIA Formula 2 Championship season, winning twice and scoring one Pole, before slumping during his 2021 F2 campaign.
Lundgaard was a member of the Alpine Driver Academy for future Formula 1 Hopefuls beginning in 2017, but with there being No F1 Seats available on the Horizon, especially with last year’s Formula 2 Champion Oscar Piastri waiting impatiently in Alpine’s Wings; Move Over Fred Alonso! Christian wisely signed a multi year contract with Bobby Rahal’s IndyCar concern, and is No longer a member of the Alpine Academy as of 2022.
And I say Lundgaard’s been relatively “Quiet” since his name doesn’t seem to get much mention during race Broadcasts, and He soldiered home to a Quiet P19 at TMS.
#77 Juncos Hollinger Racing
Country: United Kingdom
DOB: 11/11/98, Age: 23
This is my Dark Horse pick for Indy 500 Rookie Of the Year (ROY)
Honours, even if his IndyCar Oval Debut at TMS was “Fleeting,” Callum Ilott did come home 16th. As may be I’m getting caught up in All of the Attenzione Ilott’s receiving, but how can you Not be impressed by the 23yr Old Englishman carrying this truly Minnowesqe single car entry by the Scruff of it’s Neck!
As Ilott’s advanced to the Fast 12 round of Qualie’ in the last two outings. Having just scored his career Best IndyCar finish of eighth after Qualifying a career best seventh for Juncos Hollinger Racing in the “guns ‘N Roses” Indy GP Rainfest! Thus obviously his confidence has to be growing exponentially. Just as long as He Doesn’t get Ahead of Himself at Mother Speedway!
Callum was a Karting Phenom and made his Single Seater debut in the Toyota Racing series in 2014, before advancing up the European ladder – ultimately reaching FIA Formula 2 in the summer of 2017.
Ilott then became a Ferrari Academy Driver, which He still is today, along with being the Alfa Romeo F1 Teams official reserve Driver this season.
Callum made a total of 47 starts in F2 between 2017-2020, the latter being his best season, scoring three wins enroute to finishing Runner-up to F2 Champion Mick Schumacher, who now races in Formula 1 for the Haas F1 Team.
As the $64k Questione is whether or not the Bowtie runners, nee Chevy will continue their Dominance of the first four races this season at Mother Speedway? Or does Honda have anything to say about it? We’ll soon know the answer…