Salesforce Driver is Okay after late day slide into the wall; DRR Team repairing the car
SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 17, 2018) – Young Sage Karam put in another impressive practice day Thursday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the fifth fastest overall speed in his No. 24 WIX Filters/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet in the third practice session for the 102nd Indianapolis 500 scheduled for May 27.
Karam, the 23-year-old veteran from Nazareth, Pa., recorded a best lap of 224.920 miles per hour Thursday in preparation for this weekend’s qualifications for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Karam, entering his fifth Indy 500 event, made a total of 72 laps in a day in which he tested in “race trim” and practiced pit stops with his six-person crew.
Karam’s teammate, J.R. Hildebrand of Boulder, Colo., clocked a best speed of 223.351 m.p.h. in the No. 66 Salesforce/DRR Chevrolet before a late day brush with the turn three wall halted his Thursday runs. Hildebrand, entering his eighth Indy 500, walked away from the incident and the DRR crew is now repairing the No. 66 for the “Fast Friday” practice runs.
Hildebrand, the 2011 Indy 500 runner-up and ‘Rookie of the Year,” completed 57 laps Thursday before the turn three mishap occurred.
“P5 today which is good,” said Karam. “A lot of guys were out there running qualifying simulations and we didn’t do that today. We really focused on the race car setup again. We struggled a little at first, but we made great changes at lunch time. We came back out and the car felt much better. We were able to mix it up with a lot of people out there. Tomorrow is ‘Fast Friday’ so we’ll get the extra boost (with the engine’s turbocharger). We’ll do our qualifying sims tomorrow. I need to get a good night’s sleep tonight as the next few days are stressful, but I’m looking forward to it. Overall, things are looking good for the WIX Filters team so far.”
“We were making some good progress with the car today,” said Hildebrand. “We are chasing the same things with car as everyone else. And we looked like we were getting there with the race setup. We were looking forward to making a long run at the end of the day in traffic. We weren’t that deep into the run and we had something happen in turn three with the car. We are still analyzing what might have happen.
“The car felt out of the ordinary. I didn’t feel like I was losing the car at all. I thought for sure I could save the car, which why I’m a little confused on what happened. I did have enough warning to keep it under control. It felt like I had a wacky wheel of a shopping cart because the car kept wobbling a bit. But I’m fine and ready to go tomorrow. I feel badly for the crew guys getting the car repaired now. I’m looking forward to Friday’s runs.”
“Fast Friday” practice, weather permitting, is set for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with qualifying rounds scheduled for Saturdayand Sunday. The 102nd Indy 500 gets underway Sunday, May 27, at 12:15 p.m. EDT.