Quick quiz: Name the two NTT INDYCAR SERIES teams preparing for this Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge employing two drivers who finished in the top seven of last year’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
By Curt Cavin | Published: Apr 20, 2022
Source; Indianapolis Star-News
Meyer Shank Racing, which added Simon Pagenaud to reigning champion Helio Castroneves, is one. The other?
Not Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing, Arrow McLaren SP, Andretti Autosport or any other team that regularly competes in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.
It is Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, which placed Sage Karam in the seventh position last year with new hire Santino Ferrucci of Woodbury, CT finishing sixth for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
Dennis Reinbold’s Indianapolis-based, one-off team rolled into its first series event since last May with its 12 full-time employees, an assortment of veteran crew members added for this week’s Open Test and the upcoming “500,” and two cars that looked ready to roll.
D&RR is Ferrucci’s third different team in the past years at IMS, but he said it is every bit the part of a team capable of winning the 106th Running on Sunday, May 29.
“You know, they’re full time in other series, so the group of guys is really good, really calm and collected,” Ferrucci said Wednesday at IMS. “I think with this being the first day (of testing), it’s the most collected I can remember people and a team being here.
“This place is nerve-wracking, and this is a brand-new car, fired up for the first time last night. Knock on wood, as soon as we got going it was really good. No complaints.”
Ferrucci ended up fourth fastest overall Wednesday with a top lap of 226.182 mph in the No. 23 Dreyer & Reinbold Chevrolet.
In addition to last year’s result, Ferrucci brings finishes of seventh and fourth in the “500,” and he finished ninth in this season’s XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway after replacing Jack Harvey (concussion) with no practice time. He earned the Indy 500’s Rookie of the Year Award in 2019.
Ferrucci’s strategy here is being called by 2004 Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice, whose history with him dates to karting together years ago on the East Coast.
“It’s funny how the worlds align,” Ferrucci said. “Same thing with Sage. I’ve known Sage since the karting world when I was 5 years old. Here we are as teammates.”
Like Ferrucci, Karam had a strong rookie year at Indy – in 2014 when he finished ninth with this team – and his career includes an Indy Lights championship the year prior. Karam is back in the No. 24 car, with a top speed of 220.116 during his refresher test.
“This is his (seventh) year with us, so we know him really well,” Reinbold said of Karam. “I really like what we’ve got here with these two, and many of our (crew members) have been with us a long time, so we’ve got experience. We’re ready for this.”