Dreyer & Reinbold still aiming for full-time IndyCar return

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing owner Dennis Reinbold wants to bring his team back to IndyCar full-time, after plans to expand its presence this year was altered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sage Karam, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet

After six years of running the Indianapolis 500 only, the Chevrolet-powered Dreyer & Reinbold squad was able to add the three races on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course to its schedule last year.

But Reinbold’s plan to expand further was put on hold by the implications of the global pandemic.

“No excuses: the reality of the universe is that people had to reshuffle some things,” said Reinbold, whose team last ran full-time in 2012, when Oriol Servia landed the team four top-five finishes, once DRR had switched from the underperforming Lotus engine to Chevrolet.

“We took the time to restructure our program. We had to take a few steps back, reprioritise what’s important. That’s this place and this month.

“We are working to become a full time team in the series. The series is expanding and growing. It’s on fire; it’s doing great. But for now, for us, the best thing is to do the best we possibly can for this month of May and go from there.

“[A full-time return] is our goal, but it got postponed a bit.”

"After the Indy 500 we put a plan together for the next one – whether we do additional races or series or not. We try to improve year after year.

“The last couple years we haven’t represented ourselves the way we should [in the 500] but we feel good about our start. We feel good about where we’re positioned for the race weekend."

Reinbold has run driver Sage Karam in six of the last seven 500s, and for the previous three editions he paired him with JR Hildebrand.

Sage Karam, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet, Indy 2021.

Sage Karam, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet, Indy 2021.

Photo by: Geoffrey M. Miller / Motorsport Images

Dreyer & Reinbold has reverted to just one car for 2021, one of only three single entries without an affiliation with another team, but Karam doesn’t believe this is necessarily a disadvantage.

“There’s obviously some positives to having two cars, and some negatives,” said the 2013 Indy Lights champion.

“When I first came to Dreyer we were one-car effort, it was my first 500, we got ninth. We were one for a while and ran really well. We went to two cars (in 2018) when the new chassis came out and kind of struggled.

“Two cars is good to have data points, but we’re a smaller team. There’s a lot going on. More people, a lot more things to look at, and as much as I think it can help, it can also hurt.

“Me and JR worked well together, but we’re polar opposites! JR is quiet, calculated and knows his stuff with numbers. Whereas I’m energetic, talkative, and tell the engineers how it is with how I feel.

"It was cool to talk to JR in that sense about what he thought more exact changes, where I was like ‘this is what I kind of feel’.

“[We're a] small team here from Indy taking on the big teams like Andretti with six cars, Penske with four, and what they have.

They can run their test programs faster, but if we focus on what we need to, we can be in the hunt. A lot of people saw that we are quick.”

Reinbold expanded: “It’s very gratifying to come out and know that we’re in the game.

"It’s a difficult thing, year after year and condition after condition on a daily basis at this place. It’s the hardest race track in the world. You can’t take it for granted. You have to respect what’s going on out here.

“And the competition. The field is the deepest since I’ve been involved in racing, 20-plus years. We keep working on it and try to learn from our mistakes. The path remains the same, but there have been a lot of innovations along the way.

“The hybrid comes out soon [2023] and fits us well, with our objectives and [sponsor] AES, what they want to do for the future of power."

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