By: Tanner Watkins
April 22, 2019 | 8:00 AM
With just a few days left until the month of May officially begins, business is sure to pick up for teams vying for a spot in the 103rd Indianapolis 500. One of those teams is part-time outfit Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, who announced today that they will reunite with J.R. Hildebrand to form a two-car operation in preparation for the May 26 race.
Hildebrand, 31, is an eight-time starter in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing and finished runner-up in the 2011 Indianapolis 500 to earn Rookie of the Year honors. The California native has driven for Panther Racing, CFH Racing, Ed Carpenter Racing, and most recently, Dreyer & Reinbold.
In year two with the Indianapolis-based team, Hildebrand will look to build on an 11th place finish from his 2018 run with DRR.
“Last year, we had a great relationship with Dennis Reinbold’s DRR team in our initial Indy 500 effort,” said Hildebrand. “I started my IndyCar career with Dennis back in 2010 when he brought me up to the big leagues in IndyCar Racing. We have always had a great rapport over the years. I have always been impressed with the speed in the race of the DRR team.
“I’m thrilled to have Salesforce back on our race car, and also honoring the great Dan Gurney with the No. 48 this year. Dan was one of my racing heroes, by saluting him in this year’s Indy 500 and campaigning his famed No. 48. Dan’s No. 48 won the 1975 Indy 500 with Bobby Unser driving. Now, we’ll celebrate Dan’s great racing achievements with the No. 48 car.”
With Fernando Alonso and McLaren snatching up the No. 66 – which Hildebrand used in 2018 with Dreyer & Reinbold – the Chevrolet-powered team chose to honor the motorsports icon Gurney with this year’s number selection.
Alex Gurney, Dan’s son, was happy to assist the team in continuing the Gurney legacy at the world’s most famous race course.
“We are very much looking forward to another exciting Indy 500 in 2019,” said Alex Gurney, Dan Gurney’s son. “The number 48 is special to our family as my dad took that number to second place in both ’68 and ’69 as well as a win for AAR as a team and manufacturer in 1975. This is a great tribute to my dad. JR Hildebrand is a special person as well as a fantastic driver and he seems always to be in contention for the win at Indy. I hope he can put the 48 up front in the big race.”
For team owner Dennis Reinbold, bringing back Hildebrand to pair with fellow Indy-only driver Sage Karam means giving the team its best shot when the stakes are high in May.
“I’m very pleased to bring back J.R. to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway again this year,” said Reinbold. “Last year, we expanded to two cars with J.R. and Sage and the combination worked very well. J.R.’s experience at Indy brings our team a lot of background to develop the cars quickly in practice and prepare for qualifying.
“With J.R. and Sage, we have two very talented young drivers who can compete for the win on May 26. Plus, running the No. 48 in honor of Dan Gurney is exciting for me and our team. Dan was one of my heroes as a kid and it will be great to have the No. 48 back at IMS.”
Hildebrand will join his teammate Karam by participating in Wednesday’s open series test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the last scheduled on-track oval activity in Indianapolis before official “500” practice kicks off on Tuesday, May 14.
Header image by Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR.