|Tony Kanaan and Rubens Barrichello give a thumbs up on decision. Both lobbied for it.|
Rubens Barrichello, who has competed in two IZOD IndyCar Series races, isn't eligible for Rookie of the Year honors but will receive some benefits accorded to first-year drivers the remainder of the season.
Barrichello's status has been "re-evaluated based on team request," INDYCAR president of competition Beaux Barfield said.
Barrichello enters this weekend's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach coming off an eighth place in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park, where he tested in the weeks leading up to the 90-lap race April 1. He'll join rookies and entrants outside the top 10 of the championship standings in Group A (10-10:30 a.m. local) on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit, and continue in Group B (10:30-11 a.m.).
"(Barrichello) will be allowed to participate in the first 30 minutes of the first practice session and he also gets an extra set of tires," Barfield said. "So that's a benefit. Street circuits that can be quirky and difficult to learn he has the benefit of that extra set of tires and the extra 30 minutes of practice to learn the track quickly and get down to business."
Barfield added that Barrichello won't receive the extra time/tires at Infineon Raceway in August because he's tested there twice, including April 9, or any other track he tests with KV Racing Technology.
The 19-year Formula One veteran, who turns 40 in May, was classified as a rookie on ovals before climbing into the No. 8 BMC/Embrase KV Racing Technology car for the first time in March for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
He will participate in a rookie oval test May 6 at Texas Motor Speedway – a day before an IZOD IndyCar Series Open Test on the 1.5-mile, high-banked oval. Barrichello also will participate in the Rookie Orientation Program at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May for the Indianapolis 500.