Dreyer & Reinbold Racing will field a second car in next month’s Indianapolis 500 with JR Hildebrand. Back with the team where his IndyCar career began, Hildebrand will drive the No. 66 Chevrolet alongside teammate Sage Karam.
Salesforce will be the primary sponsor for Hildebrand’s car, as the team will field multiple cars for the first time since 2011. The 30-year-old native of Sausalito, California started on Row 2 of last year’s race for Ed Carpenter Racing. The team is using this year as a starting point to build a full-time entry in the Verizon IndyCar Series next season.
Hildebrand is excited to rejoin the team where it all began for him in 2010. “My first call to the big leagues was from Dennis,” he said. “We’ve obviously been in the same Chevy camp over the last few years out at Indy. We were always really impressed with the speed, just performance of the guys at Dreyer. When I started working on getting this year figured out, it was an obvious phone call to make from my side. I’m excited we were able to get it all put together.”
“There have been a bunch of times where Dennis and I have been talking about doing this in the past,” said JR, who will attempt to qualify for his eighth straight Indy 500. Dennis, of course, being team owner Dennis Reinbold.
“We went out and over the off-season made the decision to ramp up our efforts to get two additional cars, so we have three total in our stable that we are able to run, so a backup car along with our 24 car primary and 66 car primary. Expanding from one car to two cars to run, you’re talking about additional pit equipment, you’re talking about additional wheel guns, radios, all kinds of things that you wouldn’t necessarily think of right off the top of your head.”
“So there’s a lot to it. A lot of work ahead. We’ve been working pretty much all off-season on acquiring equipment and putting everything together. Both of our cars have been painted at this stage, so I’m pretty excited about that. That always kind of indicates that you’re getting ready to start the road to the Speedway.”
The number on the car is something that JR was able to select, and has a special meaning to him.
“I’ve run 66 a handful of times throughout my career,” he said. “But even when I was a little kid racing go-karts, it was the first number that I kind of became enamored with from going to vintage races, seeing the Jim Hall’s Chaparral. From me, it’s the origination of why I’ve always liked the number.
“Then a little bit more about Indy history. Mark Donohue was obviously from a distance not sort of overlapping, but just reading The Unfair Advantage when I was a kid was really impactful for me. To know that was his Indy 500 winning number in 1972 has cemented 66 in my mind as one of the most awesome numbers you can run out there.
“We’ll have a little fun with it later on. But even the design choice for the number that we’re going to run on the car this year has a little bit of a backstory to it. I decided it would be almost like sacrilege to use the Route 66 or the iconic Penske Donohue 66, but we found a new one to run which has a fun story.”
With today’s announcement, the car count for the Indy 500 stands at 34, with at least one more to come. That will be a third AJ Foyt Racing car for James Davison, with support from Byrd Racing.