Karam, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Oil2Soil Chevrolet Takes 24th in Saturday’s Race 2 in INDYCAR Harvest GP Doubleheader at IMS
Team learns more data in second road racing weekend in 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES
INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 3, 2020) – The learning curve for the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing on the road circuits continue to improve for the Carmel, Ind.-based IndyCar Series operation with driver Sage Karam taking the No. 24 DRR Oil2Soil Chevrolet to a 24th place finish Saturday in the second INDYCAR Harvest GP doubleheader event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
After a seven-year absence from road racing competition, DRR made its return to the left and right hand corners with appearances at the IMS INDYCAR Grand Prix on July 4 as well as this week with Friday and Saturday feature events at the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road circuit inside the historic 2.5-mile “Brickyard” oval track.
After a tough run to 23rd in Friday’s 85-lap NTT INDYCAR SERIES main event, the nine-time road race starter returned to action Saturday with a morning qualifying session and an afternoon 75-lap race. For Karam, the 25-year-old Nazareth, Pa., racer, more road racing laps at IMS were important after having just single digit road races in his seven-year IndyCar career.
The former Indy Lights and F2000 series champion worked overnight with his team’s engineers to improve the handling of the DRR Oil2Soil Chevy and Sage put in quicker laps in Saturday’s qualifying from Thursday’s time trials. In the first laps of qualifying, Karam clocked the sixth quickest time and the pit crew threw on new Firestone red tires for a second effort. In those timed runs, Sage recorded a one minute, 9.91 seconds to put him third on the timing sheet when he pulled into the pits in the Group 1 qualifying.
Unfortunately, not all of the competitors had completed their final laps and, at the checkered flag, Karam was listed at 11th. That meant Sage would start on the 11th row in the afternoon feature race.
Starting 22nd in the 75-lapper, Karam improved three spots by lap ten. He pitted on lap 25 with new Firestone black (primary) tires to get better wear throughout the second stint. He also drove on the primary rubber in the final 24 laps to the finish and took the checkered flag in 24th position.
Amazingly, all 160 laps in Friday and Saturday racing were run under green flag conditions. Not one full course yellow period occurred in the two races.
“While the results didn’t show it today, our Oil2Soil Chevy was much better in qualifying and the race from Thursday and Friday,” said Karam. “We made some changes overnight that helped the race car. It’s tough out there. We ran P3 in qualifying today and, I pulled into the pits and looked at the time sheet, and I’m 11th. Wow, this series is very difficult. In the race, we tried the Firestone red tires and the car wasn’t as good as on the Firestone blacks. Later in the race, I was running very competitive laps but we lost a lot early. Our pit stops were very good today.
“The big thing for the DRR team, who is just getting back into road racing after a seven-year layoff, is that we learned quite a bit with the doubleheader race weekend. We lost some valuable time on Thursday in practice when we had a fuel pressure issue. But we will take the info and study it for the future races.”
Will Power captured Saturday’s 75-lap Harvest GP race over Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi, Friday winner Josef Newgarden and Pato O’Ward.