Romancini honored as Fastest Rookie


By By Emily Lewandowski

Mario Romancini hopes his four-lap qualifying speed translates into a full 500 miles on May 30.

Romancini, the driver of the No. 34 Conquest Racing car, qualified 27st in the 33-car Indianapolis 500 field, with a four-lap average speed of 224.641. His effort earned him $5,000 and the Fastest Rookie of the Year award from the American Dairy Association of Indiana.

“It was my first Bump Day and I hope it was my last one,” said Romancini, who gambled by withdrawing a qualified and re-qualified on Bump Day. “There was a lot of tension going on; it’s very difficult, and a lot of pressure. But we made a quick decision to go out to the track again, and it paid off for us. In the end we were able to put in four solid laps, and here we are.”

Romancini is thrilled to be driving in the 500 and honored to be named the fastest rookie of the month, but he is focused on his next task: driving in the 2010 Indianapolis 500.

It’s a long race and I think the most important thing is we have a fast car, not only for one lap but also for the entire race,” he said. “I had a good experience here with the (Firestone) Indy Lights when I started 18th but finished third, so hopefully, I will be able to use some of the experience that I got there and put it into good use here at the 500.”

Five other rookies were honored at the 36th Annual Fastest Rookie of the Year Awards Luncheon, which was held inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time.

Ana Beatriz who qualifed in the 21st position, the highest female qualifier; Simona de Silvestro who is one spot behind in 22nd. Bertrand Baguette in 24th, Takuma Sato qualified for the 31st spot, and after much drama, Sebastian Saavedra qualified for the 33rd spot in the 33-car field of the 94th running of the Indianapolis 500.


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