Fernando Alonso wins 43rd Fastest Rookie award at the 500

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The annual Fastest Rookie award from Indianapolis 500 qualifying goes to Fernando Alonso for 2017, but the F1 star wasn’t at IMS to receive the honor today.

Alonso is on the road to promote the race, so the other three rookies joined a field of guests at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the annual Rookie Luncheon. Three-time 500 winner Johnny Rutherford accepted the award for Alonso. Two of Rutherford’s three wins came in McLaren cars, like Alonso’s 2017 ride.

With a four-lap qualifying speed of 231.300 mph, Alonso will start fifth in the 101st running of the Indy 500 Sunday afternoon. The next fastest rookie, Ed Jones of Dale Coyne Racing, will start 11th.

“All things going well, we could contend for the win,” said Jones at the luncheon. “It’s gonna be tough out there. It’s a long race. I’m confident the team has given me a great car, and we have the opportunity to do that.”

Jack Harvey of Michael Shank Racing will start 27th. The final rookie, Zach Veach of AJ Foyt Racing, starts 32nd.

“I feel like I’ve experienced an awful lot as a rookie,” said Harvey. “The good, the bad, the very bad, the very good. I think the number one thing, I’m so proud to be a part of the Indy 500. It’s the greatest spectacle in racing.”