Advertisement

Local News

News > Local News > Meet The Indy 500 Rookies

Meet The Indy 500 Rookies

Among the field of 33 drivers for the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 are four rookies who are looking to become the next IndyCar star.

INDIANAPOLIS -- Among the field of 33 drivers for the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 are four rookies who are looking to become the next IndyCar star.

The fastest rookie in the field is Matheus Leist, a 19-year-old Brazilan, who won the Freedom 100 last year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"[Leist is] pretty raw, but he's very fast, he's very brave, he's got a bright personality and he drives for A.J. Foyt," says Kevin Lee with NBC Sports.  "It's been a little bit surprising how quick he's been so he's someone to watch."

Matheus Leist

Photo credit: Getty Images / Christian Petersen

Another young driver making his debut in the Indy 500 is 20-year-old Zachary Claman DeMelo from Montreal.  

"[DeMelo] did run in Indy Lights last year on ovals, but he's been very impressive and quick too and [Dale Coyne Racing has] a strong team," says Lee.

Zachary Claman DeMelo

Photo credit: Getty Images / Greg Doherty

Starting on Row 6 is Kyle Kaiser with Juncos Racing.

"Kaiser is from California.  He's last year's Indy Lights champ.  He's not doing the whole season.  He's done three races so far and as of now, this is his last scheduled race so he'd love to have a good performance to attract some more sponsorship," according to Lee.

Kyle Kaiser

Photo credit: Getty Images / Greg Doherty

Robert Wickens is also starting on Row 6.  Lee believes the rookie with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports may have the best chance among the four rookies to take the checkered flag.

"He's 29-years-old and he's raced at a high level for a long time, just not in IndyCars.  He was on the path to Formula One and almost got there," says Lee. 

"He's had a hiccup so far this month with a crash [during practice], but Robert Wickens, while new to ovals, is very experienced so don't be surprised if he's smart enough to stay in the mix and get a pretty decent finish," says Lee.

Robert Wickens

Photo credit: Getty Images / Brian Cleary

The 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 starts at 12 p.m. Sunday.  Live coverage starts at 5 a.m. Sunday on 93 WIBC.

 

Top Photo credit: Getty Images / Icon Sportswire

(INDIANAPOLIS) - An independent review of the Department of Child Services has produced 20 recommendations to make...
(INDIANAPOLIS) - Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly says the U-S can secure its border without tearing children away...