Pagenaud gets first lap for 2012 Indy 500 Simon Pagenaud got the honor of turning the first lap of this year's Indianapolis 500. It was a long time coming.
Pagenaud, a Frenchman who drives for Schmidt Hamilton Racing, moved to Indianapolis in 2006. He spent a season in the Indianapolis-based Champ Car World Series before moving to the American Le Mans Series as he pursued a ride in the Izod IndyCar Series, the sanctioning body of the 500. He's finally here at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"Probably the longest lap of my life," he said after taking a slow lap today to warm up the Honda engine his team uses.
Pagenaud was later joined on the track by former Formula One driver Rubens Barrichello, who is making his debut on Indy's oval. He actually won the 2002 U.S. Grand Prix on the road course.
Barrichello has never competed on an oval track. His boyhood friend and teammate, Tony Kanaan, said the 39-year-old Brazilian is excited to be here.
"He'll pretend like he's not, but those who know him know better," Kanaan said.
Is Barrichello nervous or excited?
"Both," Kanaan said.
Today's action is scheduled to run through 2:30 p.m. Drivers new to the Speedway are getting acclimated to the track through three mandatory phases.
The other rookies testing today are Noblesville's Bryan Clauson, Josef Newgarden, Wade Cunningham, James Jakes and Jean Alesi.
Katherine Legge is another rookie for this 500, but her team, Dragon Racing, is not expected to participate today due to a switch from the Lotus engine to the Chevrolet. indystar.com
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