With more turbo boost, JR posts a 228.275 with Sage at 228.187 MPH

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (August 14, 2020) – Drivers Sage Karam and J.R. Hildebrand knew when the Indianapolis 500 was moved to August earlier this year that hotter conditions would be a major aspect at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

And the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing pilots found that out in the “Fast Friday” practice round with air temperature at 88 degrees and the track surface at 130. Conditions proved to be difficult in the afternoon for the majority of the 33 cars and drivers. In addition, the engine manufacturers were allowed more turbocharger boost and speeds jumped from Wednesday and Thursday practice readings.

For Karam, the 25-year-old from Nazareth, Pa., he went out in the late morning practice and posted a best speed of 228.187 miles per hour in the No. 24 DRR WIX Filters Chevrolet. With the hotter temperatures, Karam’s DRR WIX Filters crew decided to limit his practice laps to just 34 Friday.  On Saturday, Sage will make the 11th qualifying run when time trials begin at 11 a.m. EDT at IMS.

Hildebrand, the 2011 Indy 500 runner-up from Boulder, Colo., completed 37 laps in the No. 67 DRR Salesforce Chevrolet with a top speed of 228.275 m.p.h. J.R. will be the last qualifier on Saturday before the 33-car field will be able to make additional attempts to improve their four-lap average speed.  

Positions 10 through 33 will be secured at 4:50 p.m. EDT Saturday with the fastest nine qualifiers returning on Sunday in a “Fast Nine” qualifying for the coveted pole position. A two-and-half hour practice session for all 33 qualifiers is set for 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

The final Indy 500 practice is scheduled for Friday, August 21, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT in the famed “Carb Day” runs.

The 104th Indy 500 takes place on Sunday, Aug. 23, starting at 2:30 p.m. EDT and will be televised live on NBC-TV. Pre-race activities for NBC will begin at 1 p.m. EDT.

J.R. HILDEBRAND – No. 67 DRR SALESFORCE CHEVROLET

“Conditions deteriorated as the day went on. But it’s the same for everyone and Saturday looks to be similar weather. Looks like Honda rolled out a pretty good unit for qualifying. I still feel really good about our race pace right now. I know Chevy will do everything they can overnight, but it looks like the Honda cars might have a bit of an edge right now. From our perspective, I feel very good about how the team has worked together. Sage and I have been communicating well too. We haven’t found the ‘sweet’ spot for qualifying and we’ll try some things in the morning. It will be tough for everyone and I will try to stick the best number I can when it’s my turn.”

SAGE KARAM – No. 24 DRR WIX FILTERS CHEVROLET

“It was an up and down day for our team. We did a qual run in the beginning of the day and it went really well. We came back to the garage and waited for the track temperature to go up. We were trying to cover all of the bases if we had a later qualifying draw. We struggled in the heat a little bit in the afternoon. But, thankfully, we got a good draw for qualifying with our crew chief Pat Nelson picking the No. 11. Hopefully that can be transparent of our morning runs today. We’ll look at some things tonight but, overall, we had good runs with our setup. We learned a lot today. We’ll take what we learned and apply it to Saturday’s qualifying.”