Ryan averages 232.133 MPH and Stefan at 231.648 MPH in the 4-lap Qualifying
SPEEDWAY, IN (May 20, 2023) – On Saturday, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Stefan Wilson secured starting positions for the May 28 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race by driving their Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (DRR) Chevrolet-powered machines to the 18th and 25th qualifying spots respectively at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Sunny and windy conditions greeted the 34 drivers attempting to qualify for the 33-car grid and Hunter-Reay, the 2014 Indy 500 champion, was the first driver to hit the famed 2.5-mile oval Saturday morning for four-lap qualifying runs with his No. 23 DreyerReinbold.com Chevy.
The breezy weather was tricky in the early portion of the six-hour plus qualifying day and Hunter-Reay posted a 231.613 miles per hour average in his first attempt. He improved on that clocking with a 232.133 m.p.h. reading in the afternoon and recorded the 18th fastest speed with four laps of 232.445, 232.338, 232.008 and 231.741.
Meanwhile, Wilson, at the wheel of the No. 24 DRR/Cusick Motorsports/CareKeepers Chevrolet, made his first attempt as the 24th driver on track Saturday with an average of 231.356 m.p.h. He returned to the track later in the afternoon and improved to 231.648 with four laps of 232.238, 232.036, 230.939 and 231.383.
Each Dreyer & Reinbold Racing driver made three qualifying attempts on Saturday. Felix Rosenqvist clocked the fastest speed of the day with a 233.947 m.p.h. with his Chevy-powered car.
On Sunday, the top twelve qualifiers from Saturday’s speeds will compete for the coveted pole position, while four drivers will contend for the last three slots in the 33-car field.
“We know we have good race cars after this week’s practice runs,” said Dennis Reinbold, DRR team owner. “We were a little disappointed in our first qualifying runs for both drivers. We had some speed fall off in the last two laps for both guys. We knew what happened there, so we wanted to come back and put up solid
speeds that were consistent. We believed we could be more consistent with all four laps and improve our four-lap averages. And that is what the team did. Now we concentrate on the race setups.”
“Qualifying was harder than I thought it would be with the first run,” said Hunter-Reay. “Usually, it’s pretty straight forward. Not sure why we slowed for the second two laps. I didn’t see that coming with the handling. The whole car just took off to the wall in turn three. That wasn’t a clean run for us. We lost the consistency in the balance of the car. That really hurt our average speed.
“We waited and found what the problem was for the second qualifying attempt. The second run was much more consistent. We picked up six spots. We wanted to run four consistent laps and get an overall faster speed for qualifying. It’s a lot of work with a new team and new crew. This team is very good, but everything is new for me. I am new to them. It takes time to blend everything throughout the month.”
“I was very nervous going out later in the first attempt as the track was getting hotter,” said Wilson. “The sun was beating down on the track. It was a good run, but I made a slight mistake on the third lap. I thought we would have the No. 24 DRR/Cusick Motorsports/CareKeepers Chevrolet higher on the speed charts then. The car felt great, and I was ready to go out for another run. It seems so easy to just be turning left for four laps, but there is so much going on in those four laps for a driver. You are always making adjustments during the qualifying run. I’m very proud to be part of Team Chevy this year. This is my third year with a Chevrolet engine. Seems like every year Chevy just gives us more power.”
Hunter-Reay and Wilson will return to the legendary IMS oval on Monday for a two-hour practice round from 1 to 3 p.m. The final practice session will be held on Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the popular Carb Day activities. In addition, both the No. 23 and No. 24 DRR crews will participate in the annual Pit Stop Challenge set for 2:30 p.m. Friday.
The green flag for the 107th “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” is scheduled to drop at 12:45 p.m. EDT and will be televised live on the NBC Network.