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Unser gives rookies high overall marks on first oval
Four drivers competed in their first IZOD IndyCar Series oval race -- the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway -- on May 1. Three were running at the finish, while the fourth - KV Racing Technology's Takuma Sato - was challenging for a top-10 finish until being involved in a two-car crash on Lap 186 of 200.

Conquest Racing's Bertrand Baguette finished 20th, De Silvestro of Team Stargate Worlds/HVM Racing was 21st and Conquest Racing's Mario Romancini was 22nd.

Overall, IZOD IndyCar Series driver coach Al Unser Jr. said, the first-year drivers acquitted themselves against the competition and without much preparation time. They received five hours of track time April 28 to digest information and assimilate the nuances of the 1.52-mile racetrack plus one 105-minute practice session (reduced from two sessions because of rain) on April 30.

"I think they did exceptionally well," said Unser, a two-time Indianapolis 500 champion. "They'll learn the next step at Indy. Indy is completely different than the high banks of the mile-and-a-half ovals. It's an oval that is more road course style. Rick Mears, Johnny Rutherford, me and everybody will be there to help out."

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