WEATHER CONDITIONS CHANGE AT IMS FRIDAY FOR KARAM & HILDEBRAND AS THE DREYER & REINBOLD RACING PAIR PREPARE FOR SATURDAY QUALIFYING
Sage Takes WIX Filters Chevy to 227.593 MPH; JR Drives Salesforce Chevy to 227.242 MPH
SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 18, 2018) – Changing weather is always a major concern for the Verizon IndyCar Series teams at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the month of May, and today’s “Fast Friday” proved out that theory for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing drivers Sage Karam and J.R. Hildebrand.
After hot, humid conditions for the first three days of practice runs for 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, the overcast, cooler air produced better speeds along with the addition of more turbocharger boost for the IndyCar engines.
After successful “race trim” runs throughout the week, it was time for Karam and Hildebrand to work on the qualifying settings and four-lap simulations laps.
At the end of the “Fast Friday” runs, Karam drove his No. 24 WIX Filters/DRR Chevrolet to a best speed of 227.593 miles per hour, while Hildebrand, whose No. 66 Salesforce/DRR Chevrolet clipped the wall in Thursday’s practice, set a top speed Friday of 227.242 m.p.h.
Marco Andretti led the 35-car field on Friday with speed of 231.802 m.p.h.
“Today we did six qualifying simulations,” said Karam. “We tried to make it as real as possible. Obviously, sometimes you get caught out by some other cars. But we did six pretty clean runs. Learned a lot. This new car is just different. Some of this stuff is so different from last year. It’s been a learning experience for myself, JR, and the team.
“The last few qualifying sims have been improvements. Car feels really solid. The car felt pretty good. Qualifying will be very interesting and exciting. We have to attack as it’s going to be very close.”
Hildebrand praised his DRR crew for the quick repairs Thursday evening after the brush the with turn three wall and turned in a team 49 laps Friday.
“I feel like we definitely made some progress today,” J.R. said. “For sure, the way we ended yesterday (Thursday) didn’t help. Guys had to do a fair amount of extra work to get things prepped and we ended up going out this morning. We ended just a little bit behind, but that’s on me and I feel like we ended up getting to where we wanted to try and get to by the end of today. Great work by the team. Great work by the engineers. The car feels pretty good out there. I feel like we are in a pretty good position and we will see what comes our way.”
On Saturday, a morning practice session, starting at 8 a.m., precedes the “Bump Day” qualifying rounds with Hildebrand scheduled to go out for the four-lap time trial in the 38th position and Karam in the 47th spot. Qualifying begins at 11 a.m. Saturday.
The 102nd Indy 500 gets underway Sunday, May 27, at 12:15 p.m. EDT.