Expanded IndyCar schedule for Dreyer & Reinbold unlikely in ’22
The DRR-Chevy team regularly shines at Indy, and has entered every 500 since 2000. Its best result at IMS was Oriol Servia’s fourth place in 2012, despite it being the squad’s first race with the Chevrolet 2.2-liter twin-turbo V6, having been lumbered with the underpowered Lotus for the first four races of that season.
But that would also prove to be the last year that DRR competed in every round of the IndyCar Series, and team owner Dennis Reinbold says that’s unlikely to change any time soon.
“Outside of the 500, in 2020 we did the three Indy road course races – the Grand Prix of Indy and the Harvest Grand Prix double-header,” he told Motorsport.com. “We were gearing up for things at the start of that year; we were at St. Pete ready to go for the first race, but that was the first one affected by COVID restrictions and so it didn’t happen.
“Since then we’re building back up, but I don’t know if we’re going to do more races. Probably not this season. We could do the full schedule but it’s a matter of finding the finances to do it, and we’ve got our hands full this year with eight Nitro Rallycross [NRX] cars, as it’s a transition year into the electric vehicles. We’re really excited about that: it’s going to be a global series and it’s going to make a lot of sense for manufacturers.
“Firstly our focus is on the Indy 500 – that’s why we exist as a team. All of our team is basically based out of here, and I grew up just a mile and a half from the track. That’s why I started the team, why I wanted to be part of the Indy 500. That’s the biggest priority we have.”
Asked if a partnership with another team would help DRR toward going full-time, Reinbold replied: “I would consider it, yes, but it would have to be a really good fit. We’ve sort of dabbled here and there, and I’ve talked with several different owners about that possibility, although there’s always been something that put the brakes on it. But we’re always open to it: it definitely could work.
“But we don’t need it – we have our own people who are full-time, running the rallycross operation, we have our own building, we have the cars and the equipment, the trucks and haulers. We’re turn-key, so we don’t need any of those assets from another team.”
For the ninth time, DRR will run Sage Karam at Indy this year, a year on from the 27-year-old Pennsylvanian very impressive climb from the back row to finish seventh. And the squad will re-expand to two cars, the second to be driven by Santino Ferrucci, who has finished seventh, fourth and sixth in his three Indy 500 outings.
Reinbold says he’s hoping that AES, a global power company with a major base in Indianapolis, will also return as sponsor because “AES makes a lot of sense for us and for the future of IndyCar as well as all the other pursuits that we’re doing including going electric.”
He said that IndyCar pushing back to 2024 the switch-up to the 2.4-liter with hybrid power doesn’t bother him.
“I like the emphasis being on ‘getting it right’ – that’s the priority. Because it’s a big step for IndyCar and a big step for the future.
“Being in the car business, I see what manufacturers are doing and it’s difficult to say, ‘We’ve been using internal combustion engines, now we’re jumping straight to electric’. There are a lot of steps along the way and a lot of development that needs to happen, all for the good.
“So IndyCar will get it right, the partners understand what’s involved, what’s at stake. The timing is not as important as making sure that the quality of the racing is not impacted.”
Despite being only a part-time entrant in IndyCar, Reinbold says his relationship with Penske Entertainment Corp.’s decision makers remains strong.
“I’ve always felt that if there’s anything on my mind with regard to IndyCar, I can contact them,” he said, “although to be honest, I don’t need much!
“But yes, it’s a pretty easy relationship, they are very responsive, very open to my perspective as a one-off IndyCar team owner. My input seems to be valued and they appreciate what our team represents and what we’re trying to build.”