INDIANAPOLIS — At reduced capacity due to restrictions and regulations put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 was still scheduled to take place.
With that comes the American Dairy Association of Indiana’s 47th annual Fastest Rookie of the Year Award celebration.
Jenni Browning, the CEO of the ADAI, said there are 750 dairy farmers in the state.
“For decades, dairy has championed two standing traditions at the Speedway,” she said, noting the association is honoring the Fastest Rookie and providing milk to the winning driver in Victory Circle.
This year, there were two rookie drivers, Pietro Fittipaldi, grandson of two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Emerson Fittipaldi, and Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin of Christchurch, New Zealand.
Pietro Fittipaldi earned the Fastest Rookie honor after posting a four-lap average speed of 230.846 mph in Car No. 51 Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone — good for a starting spot inside the fifth row.
“I’m so happy to be here with the huge history not only at the Speedway, but in the Rookie Luncheon,” said the 24-year-old from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Fittipaldi was supposed to compete in the Indy 500 a few years back, but crashed his car in another race, where he broke both of his legs.
“If I get a chance to win, you can bring me two bottles of whole milk,” Fittipaldi said.
Josef Newgarden, who was named the Fastest Rookie in 2012, was at the celebration to help honor Fittipaldi.
His advice to the rookie racer was to treat the Indianapolis 500 like any other race and feel good, because qualifying is one deal, but the actual race is another.
Newgarden said he loves milk and finds himself carrying it all the time.
“I drink so much milk. I grew up in a household where we had milk at every meal,” Newgarden said, adding that milk is his beverage of choice.
Newgarden said he has been to some farms in Indiana and knows the hard work that goes into producing milk.