Dennis Reinbold eyes Indy 500 victory with Karam and Ferrucci | IndyCar
Of all the teams participating in the Indianapolis 500 this year, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing is the only one not to have another IndyCar race on the schedule. The team is unique in this regard, but it is a full-time racing organization.
Outside of Indianapolis, the DRR crew stays busy with a full-time Nitro Rallycross entry. Team owner Dennis Reinbold appreciates their experience. “With IndyCar veterans, ranging from engineers to our technicians, that’s definitely an advantage we have. We felt really well prepared with the Indy 500 mechanics. We’ve won a lot of races and championships in rallycross and we stay active and racing all year round.”
The team now has a pair of riders in Sage Karam and Santino Ferrucci who share a very similar riding style.
“I’m thrilled with how Sage and Santino have worked together,” Reinbold said. “Obviously they have known each other for almost 20 years in karting. But this is their first time with an IndyCar team as teammates. And our engineering team has mixed with our two drivers.
“These guys are both aggressive riders, which I like. Santino has been ultra-focused and really knows what he’s looking for, and we’re trying to adapt to that. The good news is that both guys like a lot of the same things in the car, so we work well together.
The two drivers are similar in many ways, which should help them take the lead on Sunday.
“Our relationship started at the racetrack, but it went beyond the racetrack when we were really little,” Karam said. “And you don’t have a lot of people like that, especially in professional sports. It’s cool, it’s something we share.
“It’s quite interesting our whole story,” Karam said. “We grew up racing on the same go-kart track. I have known him since I was 5 years old. I’m a few years older than him, but we would race every weekend at this circuit in New York. He took the European route and I took the American route.
“I’ve known him for almost 20 years, so being teammates, knowing that we drive the same way, we do all things the same way, it’s just a pretty cold couple of weeks,” Ferrucci said. butt, man. I mean, at the end of the day, we’re underdogs and we’re going to show up and try to perform like top dogs.
“Santino’s family owned the go-kart track that me and Marco Andretti would grow up on. It’s rare for the same state to have multiple people in the Indy 500 together, let alone three from the same track. We’ve known each other basically our whole lives. We were kind of teammates in karting and now we’re teammates in the Indy 500. It’s come full circle.
Karam joked that they could change cars without even noticing. “When I was a teammate with JR Hildebrand, he liked the car very differently to me. We would drift away from each other so much that it’s almost as if you weren’t even teammates. With Santino as a teammate , it’s comforting and positive. It’s what will be fast in traffic.
Sage will make his ninth Indy 500 start on Sunday. All but one will have come in a DRR car. Leading laps and finishing 7th last year was his best result. It’s even more impressive when you know that he started from the last row. He actually started 31st in his last three Indy 500 races, as well as his first-ever start in 2014. He certainly knows how to move forward from there.
In the last 40 years of this race, the driver who started 31st has finished in the top ten only three times. Two of them belong to Karam.
“Our cars are among the most beautiful cars assembled on the grid,” Karam praised. “It’s a lot of hard work from everyone in the workshop, who put a lot of love into these cars throughout the year. Those guys go the extra mile, that’s for sure. “That’s what I’ve always loved about Dreyer and Reinbold. I know I’m gonna get in a car that’s properly ready to drive. The best parts they have are on that car.”
Ferrucci has been sensational in his three Indy 500 starts. As a 2019 rookie with Dale Coyne Racing, he started 23rd and finished 7th. The following year he started 19th and finished 4th. Last year he started 23rd and finished 6th for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. He also led laps in all three races.
Speaking of RLL Racing, the 23-year-old replaced the team on short notice in March at Texas. Jack Harvey could not drive after his accident in Saint Petersburg. In less than ideal circumstances, Ferrucci took the #45 Honda from the 27th starting spot and finished in 9th place.
During qualifying on Saturday, the drivers had to deal with less than ideal track conditions. Ferrucci rode a solid race and qualified 15th for the race, while Karam finished 22nd after Mother Nature interrupted him again. The results aren’t what they hoped for, but the race has been won from those starting positions six times over the years.
Monday’s practice session allowed the team to dial in their cars for race day, which went very well. “We ran over 80 laps and learned even more about our race car,” Karam said. “To be in the top 10 with a racing setup is very encouraging and I’m ready for Sunday.” Ferrucci echoed those same sentiments. “We did a bunch of long stints with the race settings, and I feel pretty confident in the car. I feel like our car is getting better and better.”
Reinbold has now qualified 45 entries as a car owner dating back to the 1999 season. Last year’s race was won by a small team, and these two drivers will be aiming to do the same this Sunday.