Mecum Auctions to sponsor Karam’s DRR car at Indy 500

Photo: Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
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Sage Karam’s fourth overall Indianapolis 500 and third with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing will see a cool black and yellow livery return to his No. 24 Chevrolet, as Mecum Auctions will be the car’s primary sponsor.

Mecum has been a past DRR partner before, with Oriol Servia behind the wheel. Now they’ll take over primary sponsorship for the talented young 22-year-old at the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

Mecum Auctions, which air on NBCSN, is the world’s largest collector-car auction company. On Servia’s car in 2012, the team finished fourth. Two years later in 2014, Karam won the race’s “Hard Charger” award as he advanced from 31st to ninth.

Notes from the release are below:

Photo: Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

“Mecum Auctions is proud to mark our 30th Anniversary this year. Between our tremendous Indianapolis auction and the Indy 500 opportunity with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, this month of May is set to be one of our most exciting celebrations ever. I can’t wait to put a Mecum “SOLD” sticker on the bottle of milk in Victory Lane,” said Dana Mecum, President and Founder of Mecum Auctions.

The Dreyer & Reinbold family has a long history in the Indy 500 dating back to the 1920s with legendary car builder Floyd “Pop” Dreyer. Dennis Reinbold, Dreyer’s grandson, has been a car owner in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” since 2000 and has successfully qualified 37 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.

“We are very excited to have the Mecum Auto Auctions back with our Indy 500 effort in 2017,” said Reinbold, owner of the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing organization. “We had a great performance with the Mecum in 2012 with a fourth. The great livery of the Mecum Auctions car again at the Indy 500 will be extremely popular with the fans too. We can’t wait to see Sage and the No. 24 Mecum Auctions Chevy on the world’s greatest race track in a week or so.”

Karam got the opportunity to step up to the big stage by winning the 2013 Indy Lights Series championship and now also drives in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship, competing with co-driver Scott Pruett in a Lexus RCF GT3 GTD sports car.

Photo: Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

“I watch the Mecum Auctions on NBCSN regularly and am excited about this month in Indy,” said Karam. “It looks like a blast. I’m a car guy like most of the people in the Indy 500 garages. A lot of drivers have to work with some sponsor that aren’t too exciting for them. But I can tell you that the Mecum sponsorship gets me very excited because of my interest in their cars. To work with a sponsor which has some very historic and amazing machinery is very cool for me. We want to make sure that our No. 24 Mecum Auctions Chevrolet looks good all month for them.”

The month of May is truly a celebration for Mecum Auctions, as the company commemorates its monumental 30th anniversary with a 2,000-car offering at Dana Mecum’s Original Spring Classic auction May 16-20 in Indianapolis. Headlining the auction are several prestigious collections and a vast assortment of American muscle cars, classics, Corvettes hot rods, Resto Mods, and more at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Coupled with the sponsorship of Karam in the Indianapolis 500, Mecum Auctions will be a prominent player in the Circle City’s signature month.

Details for that auction are below:

Auction Schedule

Dana Mecum’s 30th Original Spring Classic
May 16-20, 2017
Indiana State Fairgrounds
1202 E 38th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46205

Admission:  $20 in advance online, and $30 at the door and online once auction starts—per person, per day; children 12 and younger receive complimentary admission

Preview: Gates daily open at 8 a.m.

Auction: Vehicles begin at 10 a.m. daily; Road Art begins at 9 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

TV Schedule: (NBCSN, all times ET) Thursday, May 18 from 12:30-4 p.m. (live) and 4:30-6 p.m. (live); Friday, May 19 from noon-3 p.m. (live); Saturday, May 20 from 12:30-2:30 p.m. (live) and 8 p.m.-midnight; Sunday, May 21 from6:30 p.m.-midnight; Wednesday, May 24 from midnight-3 a.m.

Editor’s note: Sage Karam’s blogs will again appear during the month of May on NBCSports.com. An archive of Karam’s 2016 blogs are linked here

Heather Lyne, Dennis Erb Jr. make history in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series

Lyne Erb Outlaws Late
Jacy Norgaard / World of Outlaws
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More than two decades in the making, the pairing of Heather Lyne and Dennis Erb Jr. produced a historical milestone in Dirt Late Model.

Last month, Erb and his long-time crew chief Lyne won their first World of Outlaws Late Model Championship and with this achievement, Lyne became the first female crew chief to win in a national late model series. Their journey together goes back 21 years and tells the story of hard work, persistence and belief in oneself.

After a career-best season with the World of Outlaws, Erb and Lyne secured the points championship at US 36 Raceway in Osborn, Mo. with three races remaining in the season. The consistency and success of their season came down to pinpoint focus. Lyne and Erb are a team of two living out a David vs. Goliath tale. In order to be as successful as possible this year the duo knew they had to do as much as possible with the resources they had.

“It’s always a challenge when you only have two people, both at the racetrack and at the shop,” Lyne told NBC Sports. “I also work full time, so during the day, Dennis has to do a significant amount of work so that when I get down there I can start working and maintaining. It’s planning ahead. It’s having that system in place and making sure that you’re prepared ahead of time.

“When you have a problem at the track, making sure you have all that stuff ready so it’s a quick change and not a lengthy process to make a repair. We had zero DNFs in the World of Outlaws, we had only one DNF out of 96 races [combined among all series].”

Dennis Erb clinched his 2022 championship before the World of Outlaws World Finals. Jacy Norgaard – World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Taming Time

This was not an easy feat. Between a full travel schedule and Lyne’s full-time job as an engineer, time comes at a premium. What they lack in time and resources they made up for in patience and planning.

“We buckled down, and we got all the equipment that we needed back, motors freshened, and things of that nature,” Lyne said about the mid-point of last season. “We were able to keep up with that. We just had a higher focus. I tried to reduce my hours at my day job as much as I possibly could while still maintaining what I need to get done at work. I got rid of a lot of the other distractions and got a more refined system in place at the shop.

“We did certain tasks on certain days so we had time to recover. We were on the road a little bit more, as opposed to coming home to the shop. So we had to be more prepared to stay out on those longer runs. It was just really staying on top of things a little more. It was a heightened sense.”

This was Lyne and Erb’s fourth full season with the Outlaws, but they’ve been on the road together for the last 21 seasons starting in 2001. Their partnership began with Lyne’s bravery. When one door closed, she was quick to open another. In 2001, Lyne’s dad was ready to stop racing. Her mother wanted to regain her weekends, but Lyne knew this was her life path and wasn’t prepared to lose it.

“I’ve always been a tomboy at heart,” Lyne said. “I watched racing with my dad. Growing up he watched NASCAR. In high school, I got tired of playing at the lake house, so I went to the local dirt track and fell in love with it. I just couldn’t get enough. It took a year for me to convince my dad to come to the track with me. He finally did and we sponsored a car that year, the following year he started to race limited cars. He ran hobby stocks and limited late models.”

At some point, Lyne and her father’s level of commitment drifted apart.

“He did it for about five years,” Lyne said. “And then my mom said: ‘I’m done racing. I want my weekends back. It’s just not fun anymore.’ I wasn’t ready to hang up my wenches and Dennis raced out of the same hometown so I, on a dare, went down and introduced myself; told him if you ever need any help, I’ll drill out rivets, I’ll help wash, whatever you need. Twenty-one years later here I am.”

Heather Lyne became the first female crew chief to secure a national touring late model championship in 2022. Paul Arch / World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Breaking Through

Lyne entered a male-dominated job in a field that is also male-dominated – and where there were few examples of women creating these places for themselves. In this way, Lyne became a blueprint for other women as they strive to find a place for themselves in racing and in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) overall. She has her mother to thank for providing a strong role model, her father for sharing her passion, Erb for taking a chance on an unknow entity and most importantly herself.

“I was raised to believe that I can do anything, I want to do, as long as I put my heart and soul into it.” Lyne replied when asked about role models in the sport growing up. “My parents did not raise me to have that limitation. But from a racing role model perspective, I went in there completely green and just introduced myself to Dennis, the fact that he was brave enough to take that risk and bring a girl to the racetrack. Someone he didn’t know at all speaks volumes for him.”

Lyne and Erb have learned how to survive and succeed with each other on the road. They do this by leveraging decades of combined experience and an ability to adapt to the everchanging landscape of dirt late models. Next year the World of Outlaws visits nearly a dozen new tracks and Lyne sees it as an opportunity for continued success.

“I just want to do it again,” Lyne says going into next season, “I’m looking forward to the competition, I always do. I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t competitively driven.

“There are some new tracks on the schedule that I’m looking forward to trying for the first time that I haven’t been to myself,” Lyne said of the 2023 season, “Dennis seems to do well on those first timers. We won out at Marion center, we finished second at Bloomsburg. We have a good solid notebook of information to tackle them over the last three years with these rocket race cars that we’re running. It’s good to have that information and leverage it to try some new things.”