By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – Dreyer and Reinbold Racing co-owner Dennis Reinbold is running 2013 Indy Lights champion Sage Karam in the 101st Indianapolis 500, but D&RR is an Indy-only team, so far.
D&RR was full time in the Verizon IndyCar Series until the end of the 2012 season. After starting the 2013 season, the team stopped competing that season after the Indianapolis 500 and have been doing exclusively the Indianapolis 500 in open wheel racing competition the last three years.
Karam has been the team’s driver two of the last three years and Reinbold indicated that he would like to be around more than just for the 500.
“I would like to be full time,” Reinbold said. “I would love to have Sage out full time throughout the season. If we can figure out how to do that; it’s all on my end, it’s a financial thing right now.
“I just don’t have the sponsors to be able to pull that off yet, but there’s some ideas that we have that we’re kicking around and working on.”
While the team hasn’t been able to go to more races as of yet, there is one race that the team could go to without too much difficulty.
Because of the aerodynamic nature of IndyCar racing, the superspeedway aerodynamic configuration is only used at Indianapolis and at Pocono, which just so happens to be Karam’s home track.
And also a track he would sometimes regret going to.
“Pocono is an emotional track for me, obviously, with what happened with me and Justin [Wilson] there, but also it’s a home track to me,” said Karam. “So it’s a lot of good reasons I’d want to go there and a lot of bad reasons I don’t want to go there.”
By ‘what happened with me and Justin there,’ Karam is referring to an incident during the 2015 ABC Supply 500 in which Justin Wilson lost his life when he hit Karam’s nosecone after it had detached itself from the car during an incident. That incident might give the Pennsylvania native a reason to not want to race there, but his job is a racing driver and racing is what he wants.
“I don’t there’s ever a race that I’ll say no to,” said Karam. “I’ll race anything. We were talking at Mecum (auction) about racing lawnmowers. I’ll race anything, any time, anywhere, obviously. But at the end of the day, I’m a race car driver and racing is what I do and love and I’ll race there.”
While racing again at Pocono might put Karam’s past demons to rest, Reinbold indicated that some things would have to work out.
“We’ve talked about that in the past because Sage, that’s kind of a home track for him and so it’s a possibility,” said Karam. “We would have to look and see if that would conflict with some of our other kind of scheduling that we’re doing, I don’t know if it would work or not.”
While in Indianapolis, however, there is a job to be done and so far, the month has gone well for the team.
“Actually it’s been going smooth so far, knock on wood!,” Reinbold said. “But really it’s the same thing, I mean Sage hasn’t been in the car for quite a while so getting him in and comfortable was really kind of job one, and we got that knocked out pretty quick, which we expected to do. But that and just the general challenges of this place, this place is special and it’s always a challenge and always difficult to be really good at so that’s it.
With the team looking toward a full time future in open wheel racing, where does Karam see himself in open wheel?
“I don’t know, we’ll see, I can’t really tell the future,” said Karam. “My goal here is just to get the best result I possibly can, hopefully win it.
“Obviously, the better you do in racing, the better off you are.
“I’m racing a lot of sports car right now, I’m happy doing that with a great organization with Lexus but my focus right now is doing well in the Indy 500 and I don’t know, we’ll see what happens.”