One of the worst-kept secrets in the INDYCAR paddock was put to rest today when Dreyer & Reinbold Racing officially announced that veteran driver J.R. Hildebrand would join the team and run its second car at the 102nd Indianapolis 500 on May 27. It is the first time in six years that Dreyer & Reinbold has fielded multiple cars in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
Hildebrand, 30, joins Dreyer & Reinbold after spending 2017 driving full-time with Ed Carpenter Racing. The California native had run the last four Indianapolis 500’s in a Carpenter-related entry with Indy one-off attempts in 2014-16. Excluding a 33rd place finish in the 2013 race, Hildebrand has an average finishing position of 9.33 in his other six starts and placed runner-up in 2011 after pounding the wall leading the race in the final corner.
Dating back to 2010, Hildebrand has ties to Dreyer & Reinbold as he made his IndyCar Series debut with the team at Mid-Ohio that season. He would finish 16th at Mid-Ohio and in the following race at Sonoma he placed 24th.
Hildebrand joins Sage Karam in the Dreyer & Reinbold stable for the 2018 month of May. At age 23, Karam is a worthy teammate with four starts in the Indianapolis 500 under his belt. Similar to Hildebrand, Karam recorded his career best finish in the grand race during his rookie outing when he placed 9th back in 2014.
Hildebrand will pilot a Chevrolet with the entry number as 66, while Karam’s Chevrolet will carry WIX Filters as a sponsor for his No. 24 ride.
The Dreyer and Reinbold family has an impressive legacy at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway dating back to the 1920s with legendary car builder Floyd “Pop” Dreyer. Dreyer’s grandson, Dennis Reinbold, has served as a car owner in the Indy 500 since 1999 and has recorded four top-10 finishes including a best of fourth in 2012.
The family’s race team has entered and qualified each car it has brought to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with 37 different machines taking the green flag under the DRR banner for the Indianapolis 500 since 1999.
In 62 career IndyCar starts, Hildebrand has recorded 3 podium finishes – 2 of which came last season when he finished 15th in the driver’s championship.
Hildebrand’s entry officially puts qualifications “bumping” into play as there are 34 confirmed entries for the Indianapolis 500 on May 27. A 35th (and most likely final) entry between James Davison and A.J. Foyt Racing is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
Images courtesy of IndyCar Media.