How about this for starters

Posted by Iannucci | 8/08/2007 | 7 comments »
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Eyebrows were certainly raised at the manner in which he acquired the ride, but Ryan Hunter-Reay has gotten off to a fantastic start in the Team Ethanol #17. How fantastic? Why, funny you should ask.

Hunter-Reay has finished seventh and sixth respectively in his first two ICS races, which if you compare him the current roster of drivers is rather impressive. As they say at the four-letter network, “Did You Know…” only four of the current series regulars had a better series debut than Hunter-Reay’s 7th place at Mid Ohio. They are:

Scott Dixon (1st, Homestead ‘03)
Buddy Rice (2nd, Michigan ‘02)
Darren Manning (6th, Homestead ‘04)
Tomas Scheckter (6th, Homestead ‘02)

And of those four, only one managed to finish in the Top 10 like Hunter-Reay in his second race. That would be Danger Mouse, with a 5th place result for TCGR at Phoenix in 2002. Stunning, isn’t it?

So good work there, new guy. We’re still bummed about Jeff Simmons getting unceremoniously dumped (Scott Sharp called Simmons “probably the best teammate I’ve had”), but we’re not holding that against you. If you can manage to match that 7th place finish at Kentucky on Saturday then you’ll pull ahead of Milkalicious for Bombardier Rookie of the Year, and if you can break the Top 5 Helio Castroneves will probably ask for his surname hyphen back.


  1. Anonymous // August 09, 2007 9:02 AM  

    Not sure if a dude with 43 Champ Car starts should be considered a rookie?

  2. Jeff Iannucci // August 09, 2007 9:05 AM  

    Point taken. Kinda like Ichiro Suziki winning seven batting titles in Japan before winning Rookie of the Year on this continent.

    But technically speaking Ryan's a rookie, and drivers with similar experience have started worse in the ICS. That's all I'm saying.

  3. Anonymous // August 09, 2007 11:47 AM  

    did some research - when Champ Car teams immigrated to the IRL in the early 2000's the drivers were NOT considered for Rookie of the Year status, just guys that emerged from the feeder series. so it looks like an attempt by the IRL to avoid giving Milka the award

  4. DB Cooper // August 10, 2007 7:49 AM  

    Don't know what you researched but the history of American Open Wheel supports the IRL's system.

    Nigel Mansell, the current reigning World Champion (F1) at that time, won Rookie of the Year in 1993 and he had 181 Formula 1 starts including 31 wins and 32 poles. Mansell also won the Indy 500 Rookie award that year. Other experienced drivers like Stefan Johansson (79 F1 starts) won Rookie of the Year honors their first year in American open wheel racing so 'RHR' is far less experienced than some previous Rookie of the Year recipients. PLUS, and its a big plus, no previous Rookie of the Year contender I can find stepped into a seat for the first time with no testing to contest a race weekend. Here you are bub, get in and lets see what you can do. Pretty impressive me thinks.

  5. Jeff Iannucci // August 10, 2007 8:02 AM  

    "db cooper" - very nice!

  6. Anonymous // August 10, 2007 3:03 PM  

    Its right there in the Indycar stats none of the teams that moved into the IRL received ROY points for their drivers.

    Also drivers doing the Indy 500 crossover from Champ Car didn't receive ROY points (Sebastian in 2005)

    I guess it's not a "system" but rather an attempt by the IRL to prevent giving Milka an award she probably doesn't deserve anyways

  7. DB Cooper // August 11, 2007 10:02 AM  

    Well of course the first year of the IRL no one received ROY points as they were all rookies in the IRL.

    However, the very next season 1996-1997 as it was called, both ex-Formula One and Champ Car drivers were listed as, and received points towards, Rookie of the Year they being Sospiri, ex-F1, and Bourbonnais ex-CART.

    Casey Mears was in the ROY hunt in 2001 and he was ex-ChampCar.

    In 2004 Enge was listed as a rookie, ex-F1, and lost out to Danica in the ROY standings.

    So from 1996-1997 season on, the beginning of the IRL, drivers coming from other formulas have been listed as 'Rookies' and other series have the same procedure so I don't know if it is an ACCUS rule or just each series policy but it is certainly well documented.

    *There are also several drivers with previous experience in the top levels of tin tops, NASCAR Cup, IMSA, ALMS, experience that collected rookie points their first year of competition. Montoya is a rookie this year in NASCAR.