Romancini receives Fastest Rookie of the Year award

Mario Romancini

Mario Romancini was honored today during the American Dairy Association of Indiana’s Fastest Rookie Luncheon that took place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Plaza Pavilion.

Romancini received the Fastest Rookie of the Year award, which is presented to the Indianapolis 500 fastest qualifying rookie. The Brazilian registered a four-lap qualifying speed average of 224.641 mph, which was the 15th fastest overall speed of the 33-car field.

The rookie driver was presented with a plaque commemorating his feat as well as a $5000 cash award. He also sees his name and speed engraved on the Fastest Rookie of Year trophy, which is on permanent display at the Speedway’s Hall of Fame Museum.

"It’s an honor to be following in the footsteps of drivers such as Rick Mears, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Tony Kanaan. I hope that some day I will also be able to take part in the tradition of drinking milk in the winners circle just as they have," said Romancini, who will start Sunday’s race on the outside of row nine.

"Sunday was one of the most difficult days of my career and I definitely felt the pressure, but the team did a fantastic job with the car and we knew we had the speed and going back out to qualify was an easy decision for us."

In addition to Mears, Montoya and Kanaan, Romancini sees his name associated with the likes of other drivers who have won the award, such as Scott Dixon, Jacques Villeneuve and Michael Andretti.

The Fastest Rookie of the Year is one of the Speedway’s longest running programs under the same sponsorship since its inception – second only to Borg-Warner. It is one of two programs that continues the long association between the Hoosier Dairy Industry and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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