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Rookies To Visit Indianapolis Speedway

Last updated on Wednesday, May 9, 2012

(INDIANAPOLIS) - On-track activity begins Thursday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the Rookie Orientation Program.

Eight rookies are entered for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 27th.

Two of those are drivers with extensive Formula 1 experience in Rubens Barrichello and Jean Alesi. Barrichello has driven in the first four IZOD IndyCar Series races this season with KV Racing Technology. He won the 2002 United States Grand Prix on the Speedway's road course but is a rookie on the oval.

The 47-year-old Alesi has not driven competitively in an open-cockpit car since retiring from F1 in 2001. He has signed on with Fan Force United, an Indianapolis-based Firestone Indy Lights team owned by former IndyCar series driver Tyce Carlson. Fan Force United will field entries for both the '500' and the Firestone Freedom 100.

The other rookies scheduled to participate in ROP are Katherine Legge, James Jakes, Bryan Clauson, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Wade Cunningham.

Four-time Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais will be required to take a refresher test. Bourdais has not raced in the '500' since 2005.

Michel Jourdain Junior will also take the refresher course. Jourdain last raced at Indianapolis as a 19-year-old in 1996 and has not competed on an oval since 2004.

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