D&R - Pole Day Qualifying Notes
SOARING TEMPS HURT KARAM & HILDEBRAND’S SUNDAY QUALIFYING;
KARAM HITS 225.823 MPH, HILDEBRAND CLOCKS 225.418 MPH
Team hit the IMS Oval Monday for Practice Runs, then Media Days on Tuesday
Speedway, IN (May 20, 2018) – Soaring temperatures in the afternoon caused for a tricky second qualification session for the Dreyer & Reinbold team Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Both Sage Karam and J.R. Hildebrand qualified for their starting position in the 102nd Indianapolis 500.
Karam, in the No. 24 WIX Filters/DRR Chevrolet car, was the first of the two to go qualify based on yesterday’s results. Karam will start in the 24th position for next Sunday’s race with a four-lap speed average of 225.823 miles per hour. Hildebrand, in the No. 66 Salesforce/DRR Chevrolet, averaged 225.418 m.p.h. and will start 27th.
Karam and Hildebrand’s crews made changes in the set up to hopefully improve their position from yesterday, which wasn’t the case today.
"We ran more downforce yesterday, didn't really have speed so we took some away today and were slower. This new car is just tricky,” Karam said. “I don't think it really mattered if I was going to qualify 10th or 30th. It's going to be a difficult race because it's going to be difficult to pass. I'm just going to have good pit stops and try to get up to the front. We'll have to find a way to get up there. We have a lot of work to do. Our race cars are always better than our qualifying cars. The DRR boys always do a great job on the race cars, so I'm not worried I'll have good pace on the long runs."
Karam will start on the outside of Row 8 next to Harding Racing’s Gabby Chaves and Andretti Autosport’s Stefan Wilson.
Things didn’t go as planned also for the No. 66 Salesforce team either. Hildebrand will start in the 27th position next Sunday, next to Andretti Autosport’s Zach Veach and Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan’s Oriol Servia.
"We were able to have a real consistent run, but I think the 66 boys deserved to see the car go a little quicker today,” Hildebrand said. “Bummer with the conditions, the new car, we're the only part-time team here. There's a lot to take in. I'm sure a little bit of it is right out of the car frustration and not seeing the speed pop up on the dash. It is frustrating, but hopefully we can get out and end up with a good race car at the end of the day tomorrow. That will make us feel a lot better."
Practice continues tomorrow for the Indianapolis 500 followed by three off days for the drivers. They return to the track for Carb Day on Friday, then race day on May 27 for the 102nd Indianapolis 500 at 12:15 pm EDT.
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Tom has been a contributor to RIS since 1992. He was invited to join the staff as a full-time reporter/editor in 1995, and has covered IndyCar, Formula 1, NASCAR, Grand-Am, ALMS and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In addition to his RIS work, Tom has been a contributor for General Motors, Nissan, Toyota and the ACO.