Karam, DRR Team with AES for 500 Entry

And then there were (maybe) two. Dreyer and Reinbold Racing announced their entry for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 Monday. The car will carry sponsorship from AES, the power company which serves Indianapolis. There may be two more entries for the race. The most likely is a sixth car from Andretti Autosport. Top Gun Racing is still trying to obtain an engine lease from Chevrolet.

The official announcement:

Sage Karam will team again with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing to drive an entry for the 105th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, in a partnership with the 500 Festival Foundation, AES Indiana and Omaze.

Karam, from Nazareth, Pennsylvania, will attempt to make his eighth career Indy 500 start and seventh with Indianapolis-based DRR in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on Sunday, May 30.

Sage Karam. Photo by Joe Skibinski, Indycar

The No. 24 Chevrolet-powered car will feature a new livery with branding from the 500 Festival Foundation, AES 500 Festival Parade, retail electric service company AES Indiana and fundraising platform Omaze.

“The 500 Festival is near and dear to me, and the whole team, as we have always admired and supported the work that the non-profit organization does in our community as well as the traditions it upholds for the Indy 500 and the entire month of May,” said Dennis Reinbold, DRR team owner and former 500 Festival board director. “We are grateful to longtime sponsor WIX Filters for working with us to create a platform to highlight AES Indiana, the AES 500 Festival Parade and the 500 Festival Foundation on our No. 24 car, and not to mention draw attention to the awesome Omaze prize that will benefit the 500 Festival Foundation.”

Omaze will support the 500 Festival Foundation on its unique fundraising platform this May with a sweepstakes that will allow Indy 500 fans to enter for the chance to win a very special prize and a dream-come-true package.

Due to unique challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 AES 500 Festival Parade will not be held this year. Longtime parade title sponsor, AES Indiana (formerly Indianapolis Power & Light Company), has teamed up with the 500 Festival to create a unique partnership that will highlight the community initiatives of the 500 Festival and support the 500 Festival Foundation.

Karam, Dreyer & Reinbold Enter Harvest Classic

Sage Karam and  Dreyer & Reinbold will enter next weekend’s harvest Classic doubleheader at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The team had hope to expand their program this year, but their plans were disrupted by the coronavirus. Karam finished 24th in the Indianapolis 500 in August.

karam500

Sage Karam after qualifying for the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500. Photo by John Cote, Indycar

Karam began his Indycar career in 2014. he has competed in six Indianapolis 500s. his best finish is a third place at Iowa in 2015.

Their sponsor, Oil2Soil, is a peat moss based oil absorbent intended to be an environmentally friendly method of oil cleanup. Their product is available on Amazon and has residential and commercial applications.

Karam to Enter GMR Grand Prix

Per Dreyer and Reinhold this morning, Sage Karam will drive the Wix Filters car in the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 4

The team had announced a four race program for 2020. Their plans, like those of almost every one else, have been altered by the Coronavirus..

The announcement from their Twitty account:

BREAKING: We are pleased to announce that @SageKaram will be driving the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the black and yellow WIX Filters car. We are estatic to make our first road course start since 2013.

#WIXFilters #WIXIndy #DrivenByDRR

@wixfilters @mecum https://t.co/7sbGym0Qun

Indycar’s Numbers Games

Numbers are the big story in the NTT Indycar Series this week. A famous car number is switching teams, an increased number of entries may cause problems at certain tracks, and there is lots of speculation about how many entries there will be for the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500.

We are still waiting official word that J. R. Hildebrand will return to Dreyer and Reinbold Racing for the 500.  He not only still needs a car, he needs a number as well. In 2018 Hildebrand drove car 66. Last year, Hildebrand was in car 48. Both of those numbers have gone to Arrow McLaren SP cars. Fernando Alonso will drive the 66, and the 48 will be on the car Jimmie Johnson tests next month at Barber.

A team isn’t going to the trouble of requesting another team to relinquish a car number just for a test. This step makes it fairly definite that Johnson will drive in at least one race next year. I would think he would be in more than one race. I don’t think DRR gave the number to AMSP for free.

Lots of Cars, Not Enough Pits

Marshall Pruett had a story on Racer.com yesterday about the increased number of entries at certain tracks and the possible dilemma that may create with pit space. Mid Ohio and Toronto are the two venues where this potential issue may arise. As usual, Indycar President Jay Frye had anticipated this and was already working on it.

You can read the full article here:

IndyCar venues working to accommodate expanded grids

With 24 full time teams, some tracks are already at their limit. I think we will see 26 cars at several races this year. Pruett states that the finale at Laguna Seca could see 28 cars. I anticipate at least that many for the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis as well.

500 Car Count

For now I an sticking with my prediction of 35 cars for the Indianapolis 500. I will not be upset if there are more. Marotti Racing hinted at an announcement coming soon. That is an entry I didn’t expect.

 

Sebring Test Monday has Some Unusual Elements

It is not unusual for NTT Indycar Series teams to test at Sebring in January. It is unusual for a part time team to test, however. Dreyer & Reinbold is planning a four race program for 2020 and will take part in Monday’s test at Sebring International Raceway. The team has been Indianapolis 500 only the past few years. Sage Karam will drive for the team. A possible second entry for the 500 is also in the works.

We will also get to see two rookies on track together. Rinus VeeKay gets his first run for Ed Carpenter Racing, and Oliver Askew will test for Arrow McLaren SP. Askew’s teammate Pato O’Ward will also get some time Monday.

patoareos
Arrow McLaren SP testing late last year at Sebring

Team Penske will test two time Australian Supercar champion Scott McLaughlin.

You Can Help

Long time racing broadcaster Bob Varsha has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer. Varsha has broadcast nearly every form of auto racing in his career.

A GoFundMe campaign has been established  by Marshall Pruett for Bob. You can contribute at

https://www.gofundme.com/f/supporting-bob-varsha039s-prostate-cancer-fight?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link-tip&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&fbclid=IwAR2HAf53fA9A0WvHxlgP9F2tY5WfmGPbhP_zxVtKRBeqR-JcWi04uolIqhU

 

Alexander Rossi is auctioning his helmet from the Bathurst 1000 to aid victims of the wildfire in Austarlia. You can bid on the helmet at

https://www.ebay.com/itm/352925771454.

Some Large Grids

With Dreyer & Reinbold’s four race plan and Dragonspeed’s six race program in place, there are some rumblings that Juncos may have something in the works for 2020 as well. Assuming the both Carlin and Foyt have two cars for the full season, several races could have expanded grids.

What a great thing that would be for the series to have fields large than the 22 or 23 we have been used to at most events.