The fastest rookie qualifier for this year’s Indy 500 hails from Hendersonville Tennessee, but Josef Newgarden says he could be considered a transplanted Hoosier since he spent so much time here racing go-carts at an early age. Now he has the chance to race for sport’s coolest prize, the bottle of milk presented by Indiana dairy farmers.
“I’d imagine it would be refreshing after a long day in the car,” he told HAT about the opportunity to drink the milk. “It would be incredible. It’s such a great tradition here, and to be honored to be that guy in front of this amount of people around this race track would be incredible. I don’t think you could really describe it. You’d have to cross that bridge when you come to it almost, and there’s almost a little bit of pressure on me I think.”
Newgarden will be driving the #67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing machine sponsored by Dollar General. He starts on the inside of row three and also had the fastest qualifying car powered by Honda. All the engines in front of him are Chevrolet.
Rookie Katherine Legge from England is a long way from home, but she has had her eye on the Indy prize for many years, specifically “since I was nine years old, which is a long time. I actually made a joke with somebody yesterday. They said why is it milk at the 500? They always asked me why I put milk in tea and now it’s about the milk at the 500, and I said it probably lines your stomach for all the celebrating you’re going to do later!”
Newgarden and the other rookies were honored at the track Tuesday by the Hoosier dairy farm families that make up the American Dairy Association of Indiana. As HAT interviewed longtime Formula 1 star Rubens Barichello, now an Indy rookie, the man who will present the milk to the winner watched. Then Dave Forgey of Logansport stepped in and introduced himself to Barrichello.
“You might want to get to know me,” he said. “If you see me in the winner’s circle I’m the one you want to meet. But be careful because I said that to JR a year ago and he made one mistake just before the end.”
Forgey was referring to rookie JR Hildebrand who led at the end of the race before crashing in the final turn and losing to Dan Wheldon.
Forgey will be joined Sunday by Duane Hill of Fountain City who hands the milk to the winner’s car owner and chief mechanic. The affable duo received probably the most enthusiastic applause at the annual Fastest Rookie of the Year event.[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/05/Indiana-dairy-honors-Indy-rookies.mp3|titles=Indiana dairy honors Indy rookies]
Listen to rookies Newgarden, Barichello, Legge, and Wade Cunningham:[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/05/2012-Indy-500-Rookies.mp3|titles=2012 Indy 500 Rookies]