Freshman hazing

Posted by Iannucci | 5/06/2008 | 1 comments »
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"It's not just going to be Graham or Alex (Lloyd) or Ryan (Hunter-Reay), but you've got Justin Wilson, Will Power, and I'm missing a lot of other guys, Oriol Servia, who is quite quick on the ovals, it's going to be a tough deal. If this isn't the strongest rookie field in history, I don't know what year would be. I think it's going to create a lot of interest and make things better." – Bobby Rahal in The Canadian Press

"I disagree with Bobby. I think probably the most competitive rookie class at the Speedway was 1982." – Chip Ganassi, who along with Rahal was a rookie in ’82.

Yes this is indeed quite the rookie class, and as you can see from this embarrassing yet amusing photo from TrackSide Online the good folks at The Brickyard are going to milk this cow ‘till she drops.

“What are you gonna do today Napoleon?”
“Whatever I feel like I wanna do. Gah!”

And what they feel like doing some pedal-mashing at Indy, as all IMS rookies not named “Mario” (Moraes and Dominguez) have now completed the ambiguously titled “Rookie Orientation Program”. Not only have they passed the various tests, but as a testament to the crazy mad driving skillz of this year’s class they’ve all done so without any major incidents.

Well, all except for Jamie Camara, who will be re-evaluated after backing into Turn Four at full speed yesterday. God bless the SAFER barrier.

Now you may inquire, “What exactly is this ‘Rookie Orientation Program’”? Funny you should ask, because the good folks at The Starting Grid have pulled back the veil of secrecy to reveal the awful truth of each of the four gruesome tests put forth to the freshmen.

Test 1 (Test of Loyalty): Each driver is placed in a tiny room with no lighting. A series of questions are directed at the driver via a loud speaker. At some point in time, Gene Simmons will enter the room. Drivers tell us that everything gets hazy at this point, so no one is quite sure what happens.

Test 2 (Test of Strength and Speed): Each driver is forced to push AJ Foyt and his golf cart up a large hill. Upon arrival at the top, AJ will grab a wrench in a whiskey induced rage and chase the driver back down the hill.

Test 3: (Test of Courage): Each driver must stand several feet from Marty Roth's pit stall while blindfolded. Any movement or soiling of oneself results in a failing grade.

Test 4: (The Final Test): This test is make it or break it for many of the rookies. Each rookie must complete 20 laps at full speed while blind folded. They can rely only on the instructions of their spotter, which is none other than Milka Duno.

Here are the best times for each driver so far.

Alex Lloyd 223.033 (mph)
Hideki Mutoh 222.600
Will Power 222.267
Oriol Servia 222.089
Graham Rahal 221.155
Justin Wilson 221.029
Ryan Hunter-Reay 220.839
EJ Viso 220.445
Enrique Bernoldi 220.314
Bruno Junqueira 220.289
Jaime Camara 219.175
Jay Howard 217.247
Mario Moraes 215.616
Mario Dominguez 214.358

Just for reference, Helio Castroneves claimed the Pole Position last year with a speed of 225.817 mph.


  1. Anonymous // May 06, 2008 9:21 AM  


    I can tell you Test 1 is utter crap. I know for a FACT Gene Simmons would never do anything that a) had to be kept secret b) couldn't be televised and c) he couldn't get paid for.

    Exhibit A: Gene Simmons Family Jewels

    "I am MINDY, HEY!" :^P