Newgarden honored as fastest rookie

Josef Newgarden

Hearing the story of his father asking for a cold glass of buttermilk following his Indianapolis 500 victory in 1933 never gets old for Louis Meyer Jr. With the simple request, the first three-time winner of the 500 Mile Race established a tradition that will be played out again May 27 in Victory Circle.

Maybe it will be Josef Newgarden or one of the seven other rookies in the 33-driver field. Meyer, who attended the 38th Fastest Rookie of the Year luncheon May 22 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, wouldn't be surprised given their accomplishments throughout the month.

Newgarden, of Hendersonville, Tenn., was recognized for his speed on the 2.5-mile oval at the luncheon sponsored by the American Dairy Association of Indiana.

Newgarden, who recorded a four-lap average of 224.677 mph in the first segment of qualifying May 19, will start seventh in the No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing/Dollar General car. He's the highest-starting rookie since Danica Patrick was fourth in 2005.

"It all comes down to the team, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing," Newgarden said. "I think they did they did a great job of giving (fellow rookie) Bryan (Clauson) and me comfortable, quick and reliable race cars, and without that it's difficult to be quick around this place. We've had a strong car all month. Now we just have to finish it off in the race."

Other rookies in the field include Jean Alesi, Rubens Barrichello, Clauson, Wade Cunningham, James Jakes, Katherine Legge and Simon Pagenaud.

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