ST. PETERSBURG, FL (March 12, 2020) – Nearly seven years since its last NTT INDYCAR SERIES road racing event, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing returns to the streets of St. Petersburg this weekend (March 13-15) with driver Sage Karam in the No. 24 WIX Filter DRR Chevrolet as the Carmel, Ind.-based racing operation expands its racing schedule to include road racing action in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Led by longtime team owner Dennis Reinbold and a veteran race team, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing comes back to the scene of one of its most memorable races when the late Justin Wilson drove the No. 22 DRR machine to close (0.8 seconds) runner-up finish to race winner Will Power on the rain-delayed event over the popular 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary circuit including the Albert Whitted Airport runway.
The last road racing event in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for Dreyer & Reinbold was in 2013 at the Sao Paulo, Brazil street circuit when Oriol Servia piloted the DRR car to fourth at the checkered flag.
Now, with an expanded 2020 schedule planned for DRR, Karam, the former Indy Lights and F2000 series champion, makes his second St. Pete start in an IndyCar after driving for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2015. Since 2016, Karam has competed for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in the Indy 500 and selected Rallycross events.
“I’m ecstatic with WIX Filters expanding our team’s NTT INDY CAR SERIES program,” said Reinbold. “It’s one of those things that you don’t know how much you miss it until it starts becoming real. It’s been almost seven years since we’ve done a road or street course or anything outside of Indy really. We’re excited to branch out and do some more this year.”
Reinbold’s team jumped at the opportunity to run on the road circuit by purchasing the required road racing equipment and parts as well as testing Karam this winter in Sebring, Fla. In addition, Sage has been working on several simulator sessions with the St. Petersburg road course.
“I really get along with all the members at Dreyer & Reinbold and with Dennis, and I look at him as almost like a second father,” said Karam. “I can go to him about anything. He’s one of the good guys of motorsports. It’s hard finding loyal people nowadays and people you can really trust in the racing world. I feel like I’ve been lucky and blessed to be able to come into this team.”
After the St. Petersburg event, DRR and Karam plan to campaign in several additional NTT INDYCAR SERIES races after the Indy 500. The team will announce those events in the near future.
“We have to be realistic,” Reinbold said. “We aren’t going to permanent circuits like COTA or Barber right now. We didn’t do the COTA test on purpose because we were like, ‘let’s focus on the street courses because we know that’s what we’re going to do’.”
Reinbold admitted that going back to road racing after six years of running just the Indy 500 has been challenging. The DRR squad learned a huge amount about their No. 24 WIX Filters DRR Chevy at the Sebring road testing.
“We sat back after the test and ‘This is like drinking from a firehose from the standpoint of relearning the things that we haven’t touched for a while,” Reinbold said. “It’s been a lot of fun.
“We have a ton of data that we have worked hard to sort through. Just brakes and shocks and all of those things that you have to work on to be able to come out and A: not embarrass yourself, and B: be competitive, which is our goal.”
As for the additional races this year for DRR, Reinbold has been coordinated with his team and Karam for the right circuits and dates to return.
“We haven’t finalized the added races right now, so the back half of those events is up in the air a little bit, Reinbold said. “We’re looking into which one is going to fit us best. We’re not tailoring ourselves after anybody else to that degree. We want to do more. We have to find a better budget to be able to do that. That’s where we stand.”
Right now, Reinbold, his team and Karam are very excited to return to St. Petersburg this weekend.
“We are taking baby steps right now but it’s exciting to go back to St. Pete,” said Reinbold. “Justin nearly won for us in 2010. We think Sage will be competitive after the Sebring test and the simulator runs.”
And Karam has faith in Reinbold and his DRR team.
“Dennis is a smart businessman,” said Karam. “He’s one of those guys who’s just not going to do it because he has to do it and wants to do it. If he’s going to do it, he’s going to do it right.” Karam said. “He’s not going to come into this weekend knowing he’s got to cut corners. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to do that either. He’s doing this the right way, and we’re going to chip our way at it.”
Karam is scheduled to make his 2020 debut in the No. 24 WIX Filters DRR IndyCar in the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., on Friday, March 13 with the season-opening feature set for March 15 at 3:30 p.m. EDT.About Dreyer & Reinbold Racing: Dreyer & Reinbold Racing was founded in 1999 by Indianapolis car dealer Dennis Reinbold. The legacy of the Dreyer and Reinbold family dates back to the 1920s with Reinbold’s grandfather, the legendary Floyd “Pop” Dreyer, a former factory motorcycle racer. Dreyer served as a crewman and mechanic on the famed Duesenberg driven by Benny Shoaff and Babe Stapp in the 1927 Indy 500. Dreyer went on to build Indy 500 cars in the 1930s which many started on the front row. In addition, Dreyer constructed championship-winning sprint cars and midgets as well as quarter midgets called Dreyerettes. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing captured its first win in 2000 with driver Robbie Buhl at Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando, Fla., and has fielded a variety of drivers including Buhl, Buddy Lazier, Sarah Fisher, Buddy Rice, Ryan Briscoe, Al Unser Jr., Townsend Bell and Sage Karam. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing has successfully qualified all 40 drivers for the Indy 500 in its history. DRR, who campaigned in the Rallycross for the first time in 2015, captured the 2016 Lites championship in 2016. In 2019, DRR campaigned Karam, Hildebrand, Conner Martell, Cole Keatts, Gray Ledbetter and Lane Vacala in the Lites division.