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Russian rookie clears 1st hurdle in testing for Indianapolis 500

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INDIANAPOLIS - Russian driver Mikhail Aleshin was the fastest of the five rookies on the track Monday at Indianapolis.

The Moscow native had a fast lap of 219.170 mph and was one of three rookies to complete the rookie orientation program. Jack Hawksworth and Carlos Huertas also passed. Jacques Villeneuve, the 1995 Indy winner, and former Cup champion Kurt Busch completed their rookie tests last week.

Sage Karam, the defending Indy Lights champ, passed two of the three rookie tests but problems with his car prevented him from finishing the third and final stage. He will have to do that when practice for the 500 opens Sunday. The race is scheduled for May 25.

Practice on the new road course opens Thursday. The inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis is set for Saturday.

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