All season long, Thiago Medeiros has been pounding the pavement looking for an opportunity in the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series.
The 2004 Menards Infiniti Pro Series champion, who recorded six wins and nine pole positions in 12 races to overwhelmingly take the title, had not found the going easy and had to resort to broadcast duties at each circuit to sustain himself.
That scenario has changed for the immediate future. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing announced this afternoon that they will run Medeiros in the IRL's season finale on the D-shaped California Speedway at Fontana, CA.
The #44 Dallara/Honda/Firestone entry will be sponsored by Medeiros' broadcast affiliation, BAND Brazilian television, as well as Jeans POOL, one of the fashion brands of Riachuelo Group. Dreyer & Reinbold is looking to increase that funding and, perhaps, keep Medeiros in a car for the 2006 campaign.
"We're very excited to run Thiago at Fontana," related team co-owner Dennis Reinbold. With this addition, "We are one step closer to our goal of fielding a two-car team. We hope to use the Fontana race to lay a foundation for the 2006 season.
DRR currently uses the skills of American Roger Yasukawa in its #24 Racing for Kids machine and has long stated its intention to increase data acquisition by fielding a second IndyCar Series car.
"Thiago has tested twice for us and did an excellent job," Reinbold related. Medeiros tested for the team in Kentucky and just last week here on the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway oval.
"This is great for me," Medeiros admitted. "It's been a long season standing on the other side of the fence. You have all seen me looking for a ride this year and I am really looking forward to working with Roger [Yasukawa] at Fontana.
"This opportunity will help me learn different things to try in the car and it will also be great to have [team co-owner/former driver] Robbie [Buhl] on-hand because he drove before and can help me go in the right direction. I hope to turn this into a ride for 2006," Medeiros said.
Buhl, who serves as broadcaster for the Pro Series races realized, "Thiago is a proven competitor. We're already developing good communication and I look forward to working with him."
Dreyer & Reinbold's principals have recognized the benefit of having a multi-car team, particularly after watching the success of Andretti Green Racing the past two seasons. "Having more than one car might not be a necessity," Reinbold explained, "but it sure is an advantage to have a multi-car team. Pooling information pays off and you have to wonder sometimes if you might not be quicker with a second car."
The team's primary sponsor, Racing for Kids has gotten involved in the relief effort for young victims of Hurricane Katrina. The charity's founder, Dr. Bill Pinsky is currently working at the New Orleans Ochsner Clinic Foundation - the sole operating hospital in that devastated city, providing round-the-clock care in pediatrics for anyone who needs it.
In conjunction with Dr. Pinsky's efforts, Racing for Kids has set up a new program: "Racing for Kids Helps New Orleans' Kids" that will attempt to underwrite the costs of medicine, drugs, treatments and immunization for childhood disease in the area.
A hotline for those who wish to donate will continue through next Wednesday. In addition to the $10,000 funding from the Racing for Kids general fund, Dreyer & Reinbold has set up a booth at Chicagoland Speedway this weekend and provided signage on the #24 car driven by Yasukawa. Donors can call: 1.866.277.7552 to contribute to this worthy cause.