SPEEDWAY, Ind. - "Don't crash! Just don't crash and you'll be good!"
Those were the words of advice rookie offensive lineman Joe Haeg had for his fellow rookie as he climbed into a pace car at the Speedway on Friday afternoon.
When you're a first year player for the Indianapolis Colts, it's expected that you get to know the community and the traditions surrounding Indianapolis. So what better time to start, than in the buzzing month of May at the most historic race track in the world?
"It's a big part of Indianapolis and its just kind of cool to be able to experience this," first round pick Ryan Kelly said as he stood on the bricks. "It's just good to get all these guys out here for the first time and do something other than football together."
The Colts rookies took an in depth tour of the Speedway Friday morning. They took turns riding in a pace car, one lap each, going 120 MPH.
"It was awesome!" Haeg said upon climbing out of the car.
"It was really exciting to get out there. I just couldn't believe how close they got to the walls and how fast they were. It was a cool experience and I don't know how those guys do it come race day. "
"Driving around in a Chevy Impala at 120 MPH," Kelly said. "It's pretty cool."
And of course the one tradition the rookies couldn't skip, was the kissing of the bricks. Kelly led the way before they got to watch the first part of Indy 500 practice.
"You just gotta go for it, you gotta gut it," Kelly said after many of his teammates wouldn't embrace the 'odd' tradition of kissing the ground.
"If you start thinking about kissing bricks you're going to start talking yourself out of it. This is a huge staple of racing here, I felt a little weird doing it because I felt like I had to earn it or something first, but it was pretty cool."
Kelly is hoping that visiting the Speedway in the month of May will be one of many times that he will experience the tradition in his new city.
"It's just, taking all this in, I hope I can do this a lot more races to come."
Colts fans certainly hope that the relationship between Kelly and the Colts is a long term one, as the center position has been somewhat of a revolving door during the Andrew Luck era. But the brick-kissing, pace car riding rookie could be the answer to their offensive line prayers.