INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2000 -- Dennis Reinbold's family involvement in auto racing goes back to the 1920s, when his grandfather Pop Dreyer worked with the Duesenbergs at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Driver Robbie Buhl...
INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2000 -- Dennis Reinbold's family involvement in auto racing goes back to the 1920s, when his grandfather Pop Dreyer worked with the Duesenbergs at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Driver Robbie Buhl attended his first race at Indy when he was 7. "I fell in love with racing," said Buhl, now 36. Reinbold and Buhl announced Jan. 18 that they have formed an Indy Racing League team along with third partner Eric DeBord, who owns Pole Position Productions in Chicago and is chief financial officer for D & K Products. It will be called Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, as Purex laundry detergent is the primary sponsor. The announcement came only nine days before practice begins for the Indy Racing League season-opener, the Delphi Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway on Jan. 29 at Orlando, Fla. Despite the short time frame, Buhl plans not only to race but to challenge for the victory. "I've been developing this relationship the last year and a half," Buhl said about his new partners. "This isn't something that came out of thin air. "With the qualified people we have, I think we have as good a shot as anybody to win this first race." Buhl already is in Orlando preparing to begin two days of prerace testing. The team's manager is Mitch Davis, who worked with driver Jeff Ward last year, and chief mechanic John O'Gara, Buhl's former chief when he drove for John Menard in 1998, and chief for series defending champion Greg Ray last season. The entire program came together when Purex stepped up as the primary sponsor after having some involvement with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing last year, including sponsorship at the Indianapolis 500. The Purex logo appeared on the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing car as a secondary sponsor in early races last year. He said the Purex officials enjoyed the participation and wanted to become more involved, especially with the league 's new five-year TV package with ABC, ESPN and ESPN2. When Purex came on board for this season, a G Force chassis was quickly acquired, painted and put into racing shape by the night of Jan. 17. "I don't think we're that far behind the 8-ball," Buhl said. "I know the pieces you have to have to succeed on the racetrack. I'm excited. We all bring different things to the race team." The team will use an Aurora engine for the first race. The team is not totally set on using the Aurora engine for the entire season, according to Reinbold, who owns Infiniti dealerships. "We'll start with the Aurora, then reassess things after the first race," he said. Reinbold added that he has a lot of faith and confidence in the 3.5-liter Nissan Infiniti powerplant currently being used only by 1998 Indy 500 champion Eddie Cheever Jr. Buhl, who won races at Snetterton and Silverstone, England, as a Formula Ford beginner in 1984, noted that he has been on both sides of the fence during his career, racing for big-budget teams like Menard and for low-budget teams, too. The key to being successful is surrounding a driver with talented people with whom he enjoys working, Buhl said. "If you're having a good time and enjoying yourself the results come easier," Buhl said. "We're going to focus on having a good race car. I'm familiar with the Firestone tires. I know the life of those tires." Reinbold is extremely excited to be participating for the full season but admits the Indianapolis 500 is a special attraction. He became a fan who wanted to get involved due to the combination of the stories he heard from his grandfather -- Pop Dreyer built cars for the starting front row for the 1931 Indy 500 - and the sounds he heard from the Speedway each May, as he grew up only 1½ miles from the track. "The interest will spike up late in May this year," he said. Buhl has driven at Indy four times and finished in the top 10 three times. He made a last-minute deal to drive A.J. Foyt's spare car on Bubble Day last May and brought it home sixth behind winner and teammate Kenny Brack. He has driven in 24 Indy Racing League events, winning at New Hampshire in 1997. Last season he dropped out of competition after Indy to tie up some business demands, returning in the fall to drive at Las Vegas and Texas for Tri Star Motorsports, partially owned by 1996-97 league champion Tony Stewart and former Team Menard guru Larry Curry. Buhl placed third at Vegas but fell out early at Texas. This will be his fourth appearance at the Disney 1-mile tri-oval. He chased winner Buzz Calkins and runner-up Stewart home in third at the Indy Racing League's inaugural race in 1996, missed the next race, then placed 20th in both 1998 and 1999. Buhl, whose team has leased the ISM garage in Indianapolis, said he will continue the Racing For Kids program. The team will arrive a day early at each race, and he will visit a nearby children's hospital. He will visit the Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital on Jan. 26 in Orlando. "I didn't do the racing like I liked to do it last year," Buhl said. "That' s not the case this year. I'm back to full-time racing."
DELPHI INDY 200 AT WALT DISNEY WORLD SPEEDWAY NOTEBOOK
Schedule: The Delphi Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway starts at noon (EST) Jan. 29. Pole qualifying starts at 12:30 p.m. Jan. 28. Practice sessions start at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Jan. 27, and 10 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. Jan. 28.
An autograph session with all Indy Racing drivers is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Jan. 28 in the Midway outside Turn 3 at the track.
The USAC Coors Light Silver Bullet Series 50-lap feature starts at 2:30 p.m. Jan. 29, with qualifying for that event at 2 p.m. Jan. 28.
On the air: The Delphi Indy 200 will be televised live on ABC at noon (EST) Jan. 29 on ABC. The debut of "Indy Racing 2Day" will be at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 29 on ESPN2.
ESPN2 will televise pole qualifying at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 28.
The Indy Racing Radio Network will broadcast a 30-minute prerace show at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 29, followed by the live race broadcast at noon. The area IRRN affiliate is WQTM-AM 740, Maitland, Fla.
The IRRN race broadcast also will be available live on the Internet at www.indyracingleague.com as part of a partnership between Indy Racing Online and Yahoo!/broadcast.com, the world's leading Web broadcast site.
Tickets: Tickets are available for the Delphi Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway by calling (800) 822-INDY or by visiting tickets.com at http://www.tickets.com . Ticket information also is available on the World Wide Web at http://www.indy200.com .