SPEEDWAY (May 20, 2022) – The “Fast Friday” practice session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway proved to be one of the most difficult ever seen at the famed “Brickyard” with consistent wind speeds of close to 25 miles per hour and gusts of over 40. It made it tough for all of the 33 drivers to record consistent speeds in preparation for Saturday’s qualifying for the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500.
While many drivers could only muster one strong lap in their 4-lap qualifying simulations on Friday, Sage Karam and his No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing AES Indiana Chevrolet clocked the third-best four-lap average speed reading with 230.114 miles per hour and a best clocking 230.826 m.p.h.
Only Tony Kanaan (230.517) and rookie David Malukas (230.286) managed better four-lap averages late in the day despite the extremely hot and windy conditions at the legendary 2.5-mile oval.
“For Fast Friday, we did well with our setups,” said Karam. “The first run was more of a balance check and then we made some additional changes. At the end of the day, the wind was still blowing pretty hard, but we made four legit qualifying trim laps. And I was able to run four pretty good laps. I think we were third overall in the four-lap qualifying averages. On the last lap, the car slid in turn three more than I wanted, and I had to get out of the throttle a bit.
“We drew No. 27 for the qualifying draw. Not as good as we wanted, but, after today’s run, I think we can be competitive in qualifying. The track cooled down a bit late in the day, but the wind was still strong. And we had to deal with it. It was good to run today with the wind. In my nine years here, these were the hardest conditions I have ever had to drive. It’s important to put together four laps in qualifying. It was tough to do that today.”
Karam’s DRR teammate, Santino Ferrucci in the No. 23 DRR Screamin’ Sicilian Pizza/Barrett-Jackson Chevrolet worked with his crew to improve his qualifying setups, recording a best speed of 226.627.
“It was an interesting day for us,” said Ferrucci. “We worked on the car’s setup quite a bit with the wind. We had some understeer, but we should be good in qualifying. We’ll run some practice in the morning to get ready. Sage’s car was fast today. We got a good qualifying draw, so we hope to run early in the day.”
Despite missing a full day of practice runs on Wednesday due to rainstorms, the DRR driving duo worked well together with the “race” setup and continued to improve their cars for this weekend’s qualifying.
“I’m pleased how Sage and Santino have worked together,” said Dennis Reinbold, DRR team owner. “Obviously they have known each other for nearly 20 years back in karting. But this is their first time with an IndyCar team as teammates. And our engineering staff has blended together with our two drivers. Sage showed a strong qualifying simulation on Friday that we hope will translate to a good showing on Saturday and Sunday.”
Action begins early at IMS Saturday, May 21, with practice runs beginning at 8:30 a.m. EDT.
Qualifications get underway at 11 a.m. EDT and run through the day until 5:50 p.m. as all 33 drivers will attempt four-lap average qualifying readings. On Sunday, May 22, the Top 12 qualifiers from Saturday will compete for the Firestone “Fast Six” and the fastest six drivers will battle in a late day “shootout” for the coveted pole position.
The 106th “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” will begin at 12:45 p.m. on Sunday, May 29.
About Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing was founded in 1999 by Indianapolis car dealer Dennis Reinbold. The legacy of the Dreyer and Reinbold family dates back to the 1920s with Reinbold’s grandfather, the legendary Floyd “Pop” Dreyer, a former factory motorcycle racer. Dreyer served as a crewman and mechanic on the famed Duesenberg driven by Benny Shoaff and Babe Stapp in the 1927 Indy 500. Dreyer went on to build Indy 500 cars in the 1930s which many started on the front row. In addition, Dreyer constructed championship-winning sprint cars and midgets as well as quarter midgets called Dreyerettes. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing captured its first win in 2000 with driver Robbie Buhl at Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando, Fla., and has fielded a variety of drivers including Buhl, Buddy Lazier, Sarah Fisher, Buddy Rice, Al Unser Jr., Sage Karam and J.R. Hildebrand. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing has successfully qualified all 43 drivers for the Indy 500 in its history. DRR, who competed in the Rallycross for the first time in 2015, captured the 2016 Lites rallycross championship.