Fighting track temps at 125 or higher, Sage goes 227.099, JR at 226.341
SPEEDWAY, Ind. (August 15, 2020) – Sage Karam and J.R. Hildebrand became the 41st and 42nd drivers to qualify for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in the famed Indianapolis 500 when they drove their Chevrolet-powered machines into the 33-car field Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 104th Indy 500 is set to start Sunday, August 23, at 2:30 p.m. at the historic 2.5-mile oval west of downtown Indianapolis.
While the Dreyer & Reinbold family legacy at IMS goes back to 1927 with Dennis Reinbold’s grandfather, Floyd “Pop” Dreyer, Reinbold’s own IndyCar team history at the “Brickyard” now includes over 20 years at the track just a mile and a half away from where Dennis grew up.
The DRR duo again battled the tricky 125-plus degree track surface temperatures Sunday in qualifying which hampered their speeds.
Karam, now in his seventh Indy 500 lineup, drove the No. 24 DRR WIX Filters Chevrolet Dallara car to a four-lap average speed of 227.099 miles per hour with clockings of 227.609, 227.267, 226.940 and 226.583. The 25-year-old Nazareth, Pa., driver will start 31st in the 200-lap “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
Hildebrand, the 32-year-old racer from Boulder, Colo., will start 32nd next Sunday in the No. 67 DRR Salesforce Chevrolet Dallara machine following a four-lap averaged speed of 226.341 m.p.h. The California native recorded lap speeds of 228.594, 225.328, 225.980 and 225.494.
Positions 10 through 33 were locked in Saturday for next Sunday’s 104th edition of the Indy 500, while the fastest nine qualifiers will compete tomorrow in the “Fast Nine” qualifying for the pole position. A two-and-half hour practice session for all qualifiers is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
The final Indy 500 practice, known as “Carb Day” is set for next Friday, August 21, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT.
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.
SAGE KARAM, #24 DRR WIX FILTERS CHEVROLET – 227.099 MPH 4-LAP AVERAGE
“We wanted to be better today. Around lap 2 we ended up blistering a tire and that made the car pretty loose. I just stayed flat (on the throttle) and made the best of it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough today. We missed the first lap speed because the car didn’t fell off that badly. We wanted a few more mile per hour on lap one. We have started in the back before and worked our way up. We are going to focus on how to make the race car platform better. Our race setup is definitely more comfortable than the qual setup. And our DRR WIX team is real good in the pits as well. I know this race is going to come down to track position. In laps and out laps are going to be huge. Obviously, pit stops are extremely important. I’ve never worried about my pit crew. Despite being an Indy-only crew most of the time, they work year-around on pit stops in the shop. We always pick up positions on pit stops. If we get are in position to improve on the track, I know that the crew will gain us spots in the pits too.”
JR HILDEBRAND, #67 DRR SALESFORCE CHEVROLET – 226.341 MPH 4-LAP AVERAGE
“I wasn’t psyched about being the last qualifier today. We know how the track gets later in qualifying and, after 115 or 120 degrees track surface, it starts to get really slick out there. We knew that after Friday’s practice in the afternoon and it was 127 on my qualifying run today. The car feels good in race trim but once we started trimming out the car, we have been struggling. It’s a bum draw for sure today. The crew guys have been working super hard to improve our cars throughout practice and qualifying. I felt good about the first lap in the heat with a 228.5 (m.p.h.) but the conditions were different in turns one and two from three and four. I did have a big moment on the second lap in turn one. The focus now is on the race and I feel that our setups are good. We’ll try to improve on some of those settings in Sunday afternoon practice. If we have a good car in the race, we can move up. It’s 500 miles after all.”