Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Regroups Effort for Indy Weekend; Andretti, Conway, Duno Look For Indy 500 Qualifying Spots Saturday
INDIANAPOLIS (May 13, 2009)-- After a rough Indy 500 qualifying weekend, the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team has regrouped and is prepared for the next four days of practice and qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 33-driver Indy 500 field will be established this Sunday for the May 24 Indianapolis 500.
DRR had one driver, Davey Hamilton, make the top 22 qualifiers last Sunday when the Idaho veteran drove his No. 44 HP Kingdom Racing Honda Dallara to an average speed of 221.956 miles per hour. Hamilton, who was seriously injured at Texas in 2001, will be making his ninth start in the May 24 Indy 500. The former sprint car and modified racing champion has suffered through some 21 surgical procedures on his feet before returning to the Indy 500 in 2007. Hamilton competes regularly in sprint car and midget events, while also serving as one of the promoters at the Terre Haute Action Track.
For the other three Dreyer & Reinbold Racing drivers, John Andretti, Mike Conway and Milka Duno , this weekend's qualifying rounds will be critical for trio to gain positions on the 33-driver starting grid.
Andretti, seeking his tenth Indy 500 start, was close to qualifying in the top 22 last Sunday with a 221.109 m.p.h. run, but the Indy native was bumped late on Sunday. Andretti attempted to increase his 221 clocking in a late afternoon practice run, but his No. 44 Richard Petty Window World Honda Dallara hit the Turn One wall. Andretti was not injured in the mishap, but his car was heavily damaged. The car has now been repaired.
Conway, working up to speed Sunday morning in practice in an effort to make his first Indy 500, made heavy contact the Turn One wall with his No. 24 Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Honda Dallara. Conway was transported to Methodist Hospital for observation and spent Sunday night in the hospital with a mild concussion. According to Dr. Michael Olinger, medical director for the Indy Racing League, Conway will be examined Friday and is expected to be back in his car on Saturday if approved by Olinger. Hamilton is expected to shake down Conway's car on Thursday and Friday.
Duno recorded an average of 219.072 in the No. 23 CITGO DRR Honda Dallara last Sunday. The Venezuela driver looking for her third Indy 500 start this year will work to get her speed improved in the Thursday and Friday practice runs. Positions 23 through 33 will be determined this Saturday in the third round of qualifying. Bump Day is set for Sunday, May 17.
DAVEY HAMILTON, No. 44 HP Kingdom Racing Honda Dallara:
"It was a tough weekend for the team. I think we felt we had the cars to make the top 22 last weekend. But it wasn't to be. So I will help John, Mike and Milka to make the 33-driver field this weekend. Plus, I will be making race setup runs that will help us for race day. This is the biggest race in the world but things are never easy here. "
JOHN ANDRETTI, No. 43 Richard Petty Window World Honda Dallara:
"Our Window World Honda Dallara is back together and ready to run. It was tough on the crew and I want to thank them for their hard work. But now it is time to prepare for qualifying and get the No. 43 in the race. Then we can work on the race setup. I'm glad that Mike will be back and ready to go, too. We will work hard to get all three cars in the race this weekend."
MILKA DUNO, No. 23 CITGO Dreyer & Reinbold Honda Dallara:
"This is the biggest race in the world, and I want to be a part of it again. We didn't have enough speed last weekend, so we will prepare to go faster this weekend. I think we can get the speed to qualify for the race. It is such a thrill to compete here at Indy."
MIKE CONWAY, No. 24 Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Honda Dallara:
"I'm feeling okay now. I was sore on Tuesday, but I feel ready to get back into the car. I just want to thank the safety crew and the IndyCar Series medical staff for recovering me from the car and for taking good care of me. I'm anxious to get started."
ROBBIE BUHL, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing co-owner:
"The most important thing is that Mike is okay. We have everything back together and the team is ready this coming weekend. We have some work to do to have all Dreyer & Reinbold cars in the field. But we are confident going into the weekend."
DENNIS REINBOLD, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing co-owner:
"We are very happy that Mike is okay and that's what counts. The guys have done a great job in repairing the No. 24 Purex entry and the No. 33 Window World entry, and we look forward to the Bump Day weekend. We will get the cars ready for qualifying for John, Mike and Milka. We have to concentrate on getting them into the field. We will shift gears for Davey to the race setup, and we will learn as much we can off of his car. The good news is Davey's car is has the least miles. Next week, we will run Davey's car a lot and learn for the other three cars for the race."