Both DRR drivers moving in the right direction in race setup
SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 15, 2019) – Both J.R. Hildebrand and Sage Karam improved their respective Indy 500 practice speeds Wednesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but the two Dreyer & Reinbold Racing drivers seems like their racing machines had more left by the end of the practice round.
Hildebrand, who clocked in with 113 laps on Tuesday, came back to record 86 circuits in his No. 48 DRR Salesforce Chevrolet Dallara car with a best speed of 226.646 miles per hour while working on race setup around the historic 2.5-mile oval track. But a couple of track inspection yellow flag periods halted the Colorado racer’s charge for faster speed later in the day.
And Karam drove his No. 24 DRR WIX Filters Chevrolet Dallara to a best of 225.851 m.p.h. and the hard-charging 24-year-old from Nazareth, Pa., wasn’t able to make a “Happy Hour” performance as his DRR crew made some car improvements in the garage in the late afternoon. Sage completed 37 laps Wednesday.
“We are just learning what we can do with the car now,” said Hildebrand. “We want to work more with the package this year and it isn’t that much different from last year. However, there are a few new aero parts, a new tire compound from Firestone and the sealer on the racing surface. We feel like we are in the window now. We don’t feel like we should be throwing major changes at it. Because of that we are trying to be thoughtful and making sure that when we make changes, we are getting a good read of the car. The car feels pretty good. Feels like we are close to where we want to be. We did all race running again today. We ran with other cars but right when we thought we would record a big number, there was a track inspection. It happened twice. But our crew seems ready to get more speed out of the car on Thursday.”
“Day two for us was definitely a step in the right direction,” said Karam. “We did some setup work overnight and we made an initial run. We made a few minor changes but it wasn’t what we wanted. So, we went back to the garage and went in the direction of JR’s setup. The car was way better, and I was able make some good runs by myself. Yesterday (Tuesday) and this morning, the car didn’t feel very good running with other cars. But this afternoon the car felt much better in the packs. We are working with JR and his team with a variety of setups for traffic. I like the direction our team is going towards the weekend.”
In addition to the on-track action Wednesday, the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team hosted fellow WIX Filters racer and defending NHRA Funny Car Champion J.R. Todd in the Gasoline Alley and Todd, an 18-time NHRA national event winner, was able to sit in Karam’s No. 24 WIX Filter Chevrolet. Karam and Hildebrand explain the insight of the IndyCar steering wheel and the driver levers in the cockpit.
“Sitting in the cockpit feels a lot like a Top Fuel dragster when I drove those cars,” said Todd. “Now, in the Funny Car, I am sitting more upright like in a sprint car. The steering wheel was so advanced with knobs and controls. In my Funny Car, I basically have a lever for the parachute. It was very interesting to see the IndyCar up close. Mario Andretti gave me a two-seater IndyCar ride today and it was fantastic too.”