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Rookies break out of the gate impressively as Indy 500 festivities begin

Indy 500 festivities kicked off Sunday with rookie orientation. That they ran 661 trouble-free laps combined bodes well for the race on May 25, writes John Schwarb.

Updated: May 4, 2008, 10:18 PM ET
By John Schwarb | Special to ESPN.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- Graham Rahal had never taken a lap around Indianapolis Motor Speedway before Sunday. Certainly not in a race car, not in a street car and not on a joyride with his 1986 Indianapolis 500-winning father Bobby Rahal. Nothing.

It would have been understandable if he had felt some goose bumps while putting his Newman/Haas/Lanigan machine through its first paces on the famed 2.5-mile oval during opening day at the Speedway and the first of two rookie orientation days. ...

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