INDIANAPOLIS — Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team owner Dennis Reinbold made two things very clear on Thursday: he’s expanding back to two cars for the 102nd Indianapolis 500 and the team’s expansion has a bigger end-game in mind.
In conjunction with his announcement that soon-to-be 23-year-old Sage Karam will return to DRR for ‘The Greatest Spectacle In Racing’ with backing from WIX Filters, Reinbold also revealed another intriguing detail when he confirmed that Karam would indeed have a teammate this May at Indianapolis.
“We will be announcing something in a couple weeks about (having) a second car, so that is happening. I’m excited about that,” said Reinbold. “Sage has very subtly referred to not having a teammate before, but he’s going to have a good teammate and we’re excited about that. We look forward to being able to share data back and forth, which we haven’t done for a few years now since we’ve been a single car (team).”
“So we’re really excited for the future and looking forward to things. It’s all good; we should be able to focus really hard on Indy.”
This year’s Indianapolis 500 will mark the first time since 2011, when Reinbold brought a four-car juggernaut into Gasoline Alley, that his team will field multiple entries during the Month of May.
A Motorsport.com report has named J.R. Hildebrand as the leading candidate to fill the second DRR seat, which would give the Californian his eighth Indy 500 start and reunite him with the team that gave him his very first opportunity in Indy car racing, when he filled in for the injured Mike Conway during two races late in the 2010 season.
But Reinbold has bigger plans than just a two-car effort for this year’s 500.
He wants to be back in the Verizon IndyCar Series game full-time, something that hasn’t happened for DRR since 2012 with Oriol Servia, and the Month of May this year is Reinbold’s first step towards that goal.
“(Going back full-time) is definitely something that we’ve talked about, with very great interest,” admitted Reinbold. “Even if we start off (doing) a little bit part-time to get back into it. But we’re working on things. We’ve got some opportunities out there that we’re exploring and trying to see where they go.”
“(Running) two cars this year for the 500 is on purpose, because that sets us up to have equipment. That way, we have extra wheel guns, we have extra tires, we have extra radios, spares … all these things. So all of that puts us in position to be able to try to expand in the future. You need all those pieces to be able to be a full-time team.”
While Reinbold said there’s still a lot of work to be done before the dream of a full-time return becomes a reality, he feels he has his prospective driver already close at hand.
“Behind the scenes, we’re working on things, but it needs to be a good fit. Everyone knows my feelings towards Sage (Karam); I’m very excited about him,” said Reinbold. “I think he should be a full-time INDYCAR driver. I think he’s very talented and would do a tremendous job full-time in every race.”
Karam, who hasn’t competed regularly in the Verizon IndyCar Series since 2015 with Chip Ganassi Racing, echoed his team owner’s sentiments about wishing to be back on a regular basis. The Pennsylvania native has driven in the Indy 500 with DRR in three of the last four years.
“I would love to be in a full-time seat with Dennis,” said Karam. “I think if we can have a strong showing here, and hopefully get more partners to come on board, maybe that’s something that will be discussed down the road. But as of now, I think he’s just focused on doing the best job he can and I’m focused on doing the best job I can. We’ll let the rest just fall into place after that.”
“But yes, full-time is where you want to be as a driver. That’s something I’ve always wanted to do as a kid.”
Will it happen? That’s unclear for the moment, but Reinbold isn’t about to let go of the possibility.
“I want to take more control over our future and our destiny, and I want to position our team to be able to expand to run the full season if that opportunity came up,” said Reinbold. “We’re just looking forward to the future.”
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
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