“You realize how good you have to be at every little thing to win,” J. R. Hildebrand said at a morning press briefing featuring the Dreyer & Reinbold team. ” The speedway doesn’t owe you anything, ” he said regarding his 2011 near win, The loss caused him to focus on his approach to the 500. The theme of the conference was preparation.
Team owner Dennis Reinbold said the team is gearing up to do more races in the future. They decided to get two really strong drivers with whom they have worked in the past. Their focus in 2018 is the 500. Reinbold said there is no definite timeline for adding more races. There is a reason DRR is looking to run a larger schedule. According to Reinbold,
“Indycar is growing. You can see it. You can feel it. There are more good teams, better prepared teams which makes it harder to win. It (the series) has come a long way since I had a full time team.”
Reinbold was particularly impressed with a team owners’ meeting he attended. He enjoyed that there was dialogue between the series and the owners, unlike the contentious meetings he remembers.
Sage Karam is excited to have a teammate this year. He said a two car team can go mthrough the checklist quicker by dividing the tasks between the two cars. He is happy that Hildebrand is on the team with him. About the Speedway, Karam says it’s a “magical place.”
” Every year I feel more nervous. I’ve always had really strong cars. (This team) is definitely a good situation.”
Karam believes qualifying will be tight because the car is new to everyone. Reinbold sees only running the 500 as both an advantage and a disadvantage. The advantage is the car is new to everyone. The disadvantage is that the full time teams may have learned some things about the car in the five races already in the books.
Hildebrand and Karam both think a strong showing in the race will build momentum with their current sponsors- Salesforce for Hildebrand, Wix Filters for Karam-and possibly attract more.
While both drivers are confident of making the field, Karam warns that it would not take much to miss the race.
It all comes down to who is prepared. DRR expects to be one of the best prepared teams.