Sage Karam will make his fourth Indianapolis 500 start and third with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in the 101st running of the Memorial Day classic. The full-time driver of the No. 14 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3 in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship has the month of May open thanks to a break in the IMSA schedule, and so can resume his running with the veteran Indianapolis team led by Dennis Reinbold.
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing announced today that young driving star Sage Karam will return to the team to pilot its No. 24 machine in the world’s biggest auto race, the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, set for Sunday, May 28, at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Karam, the 21-year-old racer from Nazareth, Pa., will enter his fourth Indy 500 in 2017 and his third entry with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing after two impressive drives in 2014 and 2016. The former Firestone Indy Lights and US Formula 2000 series champion drove from 31st position to ninth in his rookie showing in 2014 for the team. Sage won the “Hard Charger Award” in 2014 at age 19.
In last year’s historic 100th Indy 500, Karam put on a dazzling performance as the former high school wrestling star came from his 23rd starting spot to fourth at lap 92 before he was hit by another car. That contact forced Karam into the turn two wall and out of the race.
“We are very pleased to have Sage back with our Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team for the 2017 Indy 500,” said Dennis Reinbold, owner of the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing organization. “We have had two sensational showings at the 500 with Sage in 2014 and 2016. His impressive runs give the team great confidence in returning to the 500 this year. Sage has worked well with the engineering staff and the crew and his approach to the Speedway setups have been outstanding as his speed has shown.”
The Dreyer and Reinbold family has a long history in the Indy 500 dating back to the 1920s with legendary car builder Floyd “Pop” Dreyer. Reinbold, Dreyer’s grandson, has been a car owner in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” since 2000 and has successfully qualified 35 entries in the race. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, a past winner in the Verizon IndyCar Series, has recorded four top-ten finishes in the Indy 500 including fourth in 2012, seventh in 2010, eighth in 2008 and ninth in 2014.
“I’m really excited to be back with Dennis and the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team for the Indianapolis 500 this May,” said Karam. “Trying to win the 500 as a one-off team is certainly a big challenge, but I’m confident in this team and their ability to field a race car that can win this race. I’ll be working with the same engineers and the same pit crew from the last two races at Indy with DRR and I trust that we can build upon that continuity and ride that momentum to the double checkers and into Victory Lane.”
Following the 101st Indy 500, Karam will return to his full-time job competing with 3GT Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship, where Sage competes with co-driver Scott Pruett in a Lexus RCF GT3 GTD sports car.
In addition, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing will be making upcoming sponsorship announcements for the 101st Indianapolis 500 in the near future.
Karam and the No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Special will take their first official 2017 Indy 500 practice laps Monday, May 15, with qualifications scheduled for Saturday, May 20, and Sunday, May 21. The 101st 500-mile classic will start at 12:15 p.m. EDT on Sunday, May 28.
MRTI: Chris Griffis Test Sunday times and notebook
Thompson (90, Exclusive) and Hoogenboom (78, BN) in Pro Mazda. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
The two-day Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Test concluded on Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
Combined times after the two days of running are below, with Nico Jamin (Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires) and Oliver Askew (Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires) remaining on top from Saturday to Sunday, and Darren Keane (Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda) supplanting Andres Gutierrez at the head of that field.
Previous notebooks are linked here (Friday, Saturday), with additional Sunday notes to follow.
Several drivers pulled double duty between series, namely Parker Thompson (Exclusive Autosport in Pro Mazda and USF2000), Carlos Cunha (Juncos Racing in Indy Lights and Pro Mazda) and Aaron Telitz (Team Pelfrey in Pro Mazda, RJB Motorsports in USF2000). Telitz (above) added a run in Pro Mazda in Team Pelfrey’s No. 82 car; the Wisconsinite has done a lot of the series’ testing for the new Pro Mazda Tatuus PM-18, and had hoped to run all three series. We’ll have more meanwhile on Thompson and Exclusive’s double in the days to come; the Michael Duncalfe-led team out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan was one of three new Pro Mazda teams adding those cars to USF2000 efforts (Pabst Racing, BN Racing) this week.
There were a handful of drivers that changed cars or teams for Sunday’s second day of the test, primarily in USF2000. While Keane ran both days at Newman Wachs, the Brian Halahan-managed team ran David Osborne and Oscar DeLuzuriaga in the Nos. 37 and 38 cars, taking over from Jake Craig and Max Peichel. Osborne switched from Team Pelfrey, where he ran Saturday, and where Jacob Loomis ran Sunday. Justin Gordon ran a second Exclusive Autosport chassis, switching to the No. 90 on Sunday after running the No. 92 Saturday.
The PM-18 best lap set by Askew is more than three seconds faster than the series’ official track record (Pato O’Ward in 2016, at 1:22.8800, 105.941 mph). Askew’s best time of 1:19.8142 averages 110.010 mph around the 2.439-mile circuit. Neither the Indy Lights nor USF2000 cars eclipsed the existing lap records in those categories.
Drivers largely extolled the PM-18’s outright pace and potential with the horsepower upgrade, in what is a significant step forward for the series. “Following prototype testing of the new PM-18, I believed that we had a special race car and this weekend’s testing confirms that,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “Based on team and driver comments, this is a fantastic race car and I am very pleased with what Tatuus, Elite Engines and my team have assembled. It fits perfectly in between the USF-17 and the IL-15 in terms of lap times and, more importantly, it takes what a driver learns in the first step and introduces higher HP, higher grip and higher aero. This will be a great training car for years to come, and seeing our program now with three excellent and well-designed cars is very satisfying to me.”
Keane, one of the few veterans (relatively speaking) within USF2000 was plugged in this weekend as the only driver outside Pabst Racing to threaten the top of the timesheets. “It’s a good boost in confidence for me heading into next year. I am really happy with how everything is going with the team. They are a great group of guys and it’s just really good to see us improving and being where we want to be,” he said.
Rinus Veekay hailed the Indy Lights Dallara IL-15 Mazda this weekend in his first test there, although the talented Dutch teenager may well focus on Pro Mazda next season and shoot to win that championship, and continue his battle with Askew established in USF2000. “The car is very nice, quick,” noted VeeKay. “You can really feel the downforce and it was a pleasure to drive.”
The MRTI is done with official running for the year, but the $200,000 MRTI Scholarship Shootout remains in December at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, the former Firebird Raceway, outside Phoenix. The winner of that will get a ticket into USF2000 for the 2018 season.
Full MRTI spring training will take place at Homestead-Miami Speedway in February 2018, with undoubtedly a bevy of driver and team announcements to come over the following months.