Sage Karam, Dreyer & Reinbold reunite for 2017 Indy 500

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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.

Karam blogged for NBC Sports last year during the month of May, and plans to do so again this year.

The release is below:

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.

Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.
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On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.


Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)