New Indianapolis 500 Rookie Orientation Program dates announced

USA TODAY Sports

Rookie orientation for the 97th Indianapolis 500 will be held May 11-12 according to an IndyCar Series news release distributed on Wednesday afternoon.

The four first-time drivers were originally scheduled to go through the rookie orientation last week but the session was canceled due to impending bad weather. All rookies must go through the process before they are allowed to officially take part in the event.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Rookie Orientation Program is designed to allow the drivers to get acquainted with the 2.5-mile oval through laps turned at three speed phases set by IndyCar.

Race officials have now opted to put the rookies on the track Saturday and Sunday of opening weekend. All drivers will be permitted to practice from noon to 2 p.m. both days, with rookie orientation scheduled from 2 to 4 p.m.

The track will be reopened to all cars from 4 to 6 p.m. each day.

"With some teams having to load equipment for Brazil following the Long Beach event next week, and long-standing community activities scheduled at Indianapolis Motor Speedway prior to Opening Day, moving Rookie Orientation to Opening Weekend was the only option we had to give the participants adequate track time and a chance to complete the program," said Brian Barnhart, IndyCar president of operations and strategy.

Participating rookies include AJ Allmendinger, Conor Daly, Carlos Munoz and Tristan Vautier. Qualifying for the May 26 race will take place on May 18-19.

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