Sage Karam and Dreyer and Reinbold Racing will reunite this coming May to contest the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. It represents the fourth time in five years that they have teamed up to enter the “500,” and May’s 102nd running will be Karam’s fifth entry in total – he raced in 2015 with Chip Ganassi Racing.
Karam will pilot the No. 24 entry for Dreyer and Reinbold, with WIX Filters joining the program as a primary sponsor.
“We’re really excited to be back, and we’re really excited to have Sage with us and to have WIX as a technical partner,” said team co-owner Dennis Reinbold in a teleconference on Thursday. “Obviously we’re very excited about that. You know, they first came on board with us in 2011 with Paul Tracy and have been with us in different forms of racing over the years and are just a fabulous sponsor to have involved, a technical partner to have involved and be a part of our program.”
Karam echoed Reinbold’s enthusiasm, highlighting the Indy 500 as a race any driver desires to compete in.
“It’s my fourth time with the team, my fifth consecutive Indy 500. You know, being 22 and saying that it’s my fifth consecutive makes me really, really proud and happy to have people in my corner like WIX and Dennis and the whole Dreyer and Reinbold team,” said Karam. “You know, I’m just really excited to get back to the speedway. Every time you go there, it’s always great vibes and always a great month. I think any race car driver looks forward to the month of May, and that’s exactly the case with me.”
Karam also asserted that Dreyer and Reinbold, despite being a one-off entrant, is plenty capable of challenging for a victory.
“I really do think we can do well. I’ve come in – this will be my fourth time with the team. I’ve done it three times already as a single-car effort, and we’ve run up front, we’ve run with Penske, we’ve run with Ganassi, we’ve run alongside the Andrettis,” he added. “For a one-car effort with no teammates and everything, that’s been huge for us. It shows a lot of what car Dennis Reinbold puts together and team. They put a car together that can compete with the very best, and I’m just truly thankful that they’ve put me to the car to pilot it.”
Reinbold also confirmed that Karam will have a teammate this year, and that details on the team’s second car will be revealed in the coming weeks.
“In terms of a second car, we will be announcing something in a couple weeks that we will have a second car, so that is happening,” Reinbold detailed. “I’m excited about that, and Sage very subtly referred to not having a teammate before. Well, he’s going to have a good teammate, and we’re excited about that.”
Karam’s best Indy 500 finish is ninth, with Dreyer and Reinbold, back in 2014.
After his Anaheim 2 crash, Eli Tomac was surprised he was not injured, but despite getting knocked down momentarily, he picked himself up, rode to last week’s win and reascended to the top of the SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. This is the third time in three weeks Tomac has topped the rankings.
Last week, Tomac finished second in his heat before winning the Main – and that translated to near-perfect points in the Power Rankings, which award 100 for a win in the feature and 90 for a heat victory. Tomac’s average was marred by the Houston accident when he finished 13th in that heat before settling just outside the top five in overall standings. Racing is about bouncing back and last year’s Supercross and Motocross champion Tomac did just that as he chases a third consecutive title.
Jason Anderson earned his second consecutive podium finish with a third at Houston. He momentarily rolled past Aaron Plessinger into second during a restart following an accident involving Dylan Ferrandis and held that position for four trips around the track until he was tracked down by Chase Sexton. Afterward Anderson faded and finished 12 seconds off the pace, but along with a heat win, he easily leapfrogged Ken Roczen and Cooper Webb, who struggled in the fourth race of the season.
Webb held his position by passing Roczen in NBC’s SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. Webb has been solid in 2023 with a worst moto result of seventh in the first Triple Crown race at Anaheim 2, but in order to be considered a solid challenger to Tomac he needs to win either a heat or main this week in Tampa.
Roczen was involved in the incident that sidelined Ferrandis in Houston. Racing for eighth at the time, his bike may have sustained some damage when Ferrandis landed on his back tire, but he was not overly impressive in his heat either with a fifth-place finish. That was enough to drop him three positions in the standings, but he still has Tomac in sight.
After his disappointing heat in San Diego when he crashed and sustained enough damage to place him last, Sexton has roared back. He won the overall in Anaheim 2’s Triple Crown format and narrowed the points’ gap slightly on Tomac. Last week he yarded the field in his heat race and won by a wide margin. A modest start in the Main kept him from getting to Tomac’s back wheel early in the Houston round, and he lost a little ground in the championship.
The 250 East division debuted in Houston and with only one race – and therefore no chance yet to stumble – three of their riders jumped to the top of the chart.
Hunter Lawrence had a perfect week with wins in both his main and heat. It wasn’t without drama, however, as he was forced to jump wide early in the feature to avoid contact with Tom Vialle, who was making his Supercross debut. Without a former 250 champion in the field, it is guaranteed someone new will grace the top of the box at Salt Lake City after the season-ender and it looks like it’s going to be Lawrence’s to lose.
It was more than four years ago that Jordon Smith scored his last Supercross podium in Detroit. Despite finishing second that afternoon, he was battling a wrist injury that eventually sidelined him. More injuries have followed, but Smith was a favorite to win the title in 2019 and he’s shown how well he can ride when he’s healthy.
Debuting third in the Houston SuperMotocross Power Rankings, Max Anstie moved from the 450 class last year to 250s in 2023 and the change has gone better than he anticipated. Finishing second in both his heat and main, Anstie was edged by Smith because he finished second behind that rider in their heat. That is Anstie’s first top-10 since finishing sixth at Southwick, Massachusetts last year on his 450. In that race, he scored fifth-place results in both motos.
Haiden Deegan proved the hype surrounding his graduation into the 250 class was well deserved and he landed fourth in his division and fifth overall in the SuperMotocross Power Rankings. In his first professional Supercross race, he finished fourth in his heat. In a field with twice the talent, he finished fourth again in the main. At Houston, he balanced aggression with patience. Now that he has a taste of that success, everyone will be watching him closely at Tampa to see if he can continue tiptoeing on the line.
Michael Mosiman, Jeremy Martin, and Vialle are tied for fifth in the 250 East division and seventh overall.
Vialle is the most notable of these three because he challenged for a podium position during the Main before making a mistake and falling in a turn. Significantly, this was not only his 250 debut, but his first time in Supercross. As with Deegan, he has generated a lot of attention for the coming weeks.
Hunter Lawrence – E
[1 Main; 1 Heat Win]
Jordon Smith – E
[1 Heat Win]
Max Anstie – E
Jett Lawrence – W
[2 Main; 2 Heat Wins]
Haiden Deegan – E
Cameron McAdoo – W
[1 Heat Win]
Mitchell Oldenburg – W
Michael Mosiman – E
Jeremy Martin – E
Tom Vialle – E
Stilez Robertson – W
[1 Heat Win]
Chance Hymas – E
Levi Kitchen – W
[1 Main Win]
RJ Hampshire – W
[3 Heat Wins]
Max Vohland – W
Cullin Park – E
Chris Blose – E
Derek Kelley – W
Enzo Lopes – W
Pierce Brown – W
* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner and 90 points for each Heat and Triple Crown win, (Triple Crown wins are included with heat wins below the rider’s name). The points decrement by a percentage equal to the number of riders in the field until the last place rider in each event receives five points. The Power Ranking is the average of these percentage points over the past 45 days.