DREYER & REINBOLD - May 14 Practice Notes
HILDEBRAND, KARAM RETURN TO FAMED IMS OVAL TUESDAY
IN OPENING PRACTICE RUNS FOR THE 103RD INDY 500 WITH DRR
Salesforce & WIX Filters Racers pleased with first day of action
SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 14, 2019) – For Dreyer & Reinbold Racing drivers J.R. Hildebrand and Sage Karam, the opening day of Indianapolis 500 practice can be anxious, exciting and even nervous when the green flag drops at the world’s greatest racetrack, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Both drivers’ last NTT IndyCar Series race was last year’s Indy 500 and they were ready to go on Tuesday for preparations of the 103rd Indianapolis 500-Mile Race set for Sunday, May 26.
After a test session last month, Hildebrand had completed his refresher laps in his No. 48 DRR/Salesforce Chevrolet Dallara race car and was able to go out with the regulars from the 2019 series and quickly got up to speed with a lap over 225 miles per hour. Karam then drove his No. 24 DRR/WIX Filters Chevrolet Dallara machine in the rookie and refresher two-hour period. Sage was the fastest of that session with a 223.175 m.p.h.
In the afternoon open round of practice, Hildebrand drove to a top speed of 227.201 m.p.h in his 113 circuits completed Tuesday at the famed 2.5-mile oval in the Salesforce Chevy. Karam piloted his No. 24 WIX Filters Chevy to 77 laps with a best speed of 224.615 m.p.h.
“We did a lot of running today (113 laps) and the car felt pretty good,” said Hildebrand, the 2011 Indy 500 runner-up and Rookie of the Year. “There are some new items on the car this year and we wanted to make sure we had a pretty good read on the new stuff. We were able to get through the full range of aero pieces. We didn’t try to run in some big packs until later in the day. We tested a number of things by ourselves. And we ran with a full fuel load too, which was good. The track surface is a little different with the new sealer on the pavement. We have to get used to that a bit. It always feels good to have to just go run laps. Now we can go working on our next program for Wednesday. Overall, it was very solid day for our Salesforce car and crew.”
“For the first day back at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a positive day with the DRR WIX Filters car and crew,” said Karam, the 2014 Indy 500 “Hard Charger.” “I haven’t been in an IndyCar in over 11 months. So, you are anxious to get out there and get comfortable. We had to go through the usual refresher laps and the car felt good early. We made some changes and the car wasn’t as good. So, we ran later with the previous setup and it was better again. We got the first day items off the checklist and we didn’t have any issues which can come up in the initial run on the track. It feels so good to be back at the greatest racetrack in the world. We worked on getting a respectable balance with the car. We accomplished that and we now move onto the second day program.”
In addition to the action on the track Tuesday, both Dreyer & Reinbold Racing drivers participated in the popular Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health Indy 500 Race Party at the Child Life Zone. Sage and J.R. signed autographs, took photos with the children and shot hoops with the youngsters.
Practice round two for the Indy 500 is scheduled for Wednesday, May 15, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. In addition, NHRA Funny Car Champion J.R. Todd will visit the DRR garages and slide into Karam’s WIX Filters Chevy at 9:30 a.m.
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Tom has been a contributor to RIS since 1992, 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.