Rookie Tests Form Longtime Part of Indianapolis 500 Lore

Every sport is filled with acronyms, and most NTT INDYCAR SERIES and Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge fans know what ROP means – the initial letters of Rookie Orientation Program, the rookie test for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”. And many NASCAR fans monitoring Larson’s progress may be unfamiliar with the concept of ROP, Indy 500 rookie tests and their history. Starting in 1936, every first-year “500” driver was required to pass a rookie test after rookie Johnny Hannon suffered fatal injuries in a crash during his first practice run in 1935. Rookie tests from 1936-80 took place during practice for the Indianapolis 500 in May, when the track was open nearly the entire month. The biggest difference between ROP and previous rookie tests was the entire session was reserved for rookies only, with the session taking place sometime in April or early May. There’s one interesting fact about Indy 500 rookie tests and ROP since the test began in 1936 – there are no exceptions.

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