As DRR Cars All Finish
All Three Dreyer & Reinbold Cars Take The Checkered Flag
It was a very successful day at the Indianapolis 500 Sunday for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.
Drivers Buddy Rice, Townsend Bell and Milka Duno took their machines to the checkered flag in the tough 200-lap contest that saw some 11 caution periods and a wild dash to the finish. While Scott Dixon captured his first Indy 500 title, Rice and Bell recorded solid top ten finishes for the Dreyer & Reinbold squad and Duno was the highest placed female competitor with an impressive run. Rice, the 2004 Indy 500 winner, drove his No. 15 Dreyer & Reinbold/Jordache Honda Dallara from his 17th starting position to eighth at the finish in a strong drive that saw the Phoenix veteran race in the top five at times Sunday.
Rice had to fight his way back from a green flag pit stop on Lap 33 that dropped him to 25th in the 33-car lineup. But, at the end, Buddy battled Ed Carpenter, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Hidecki Mutoh for fifth before settling for eighth at the conclusion of the 500-mile classic.
Bell, who started 12th in the No. 99 William Rast Honda Dallara, ran in the top ten for most of the race de- spite a few near misses on restarts. The California driver raced wheel-to-wheel with his teammate Rice near Lap 135 in a sensational duel before Rice was able to take advantage in traffic. But Bell brought back the No. 99 ma- chine, with associate sponsors EMU Australia and Herbalife, and fought Darren Manning for ninth for the last 20 laps of the event.
Bell made one last dash for ninth before taking the tenth slot. Duno, one of three females in the Indy 500 this year, drove a consistent race in her No. 23 CITGO Honda Dallara as she was making her second appearance at the world’s most famous auto race.
The Venezuelan beauty held her car on the lead lap until Lap 168 when Buddy Lazier forced Duno onto the grass, causing a spin. But the CITGO crew did a fantastic job getting the car prepared with new tires and Duno was able to finish her first Indy 500 with a 19th place finish. Milka was the highest placing woman on Sunday. The Dreyer & Reinbold team now prepares for next Sunday’s IndyCar Series race on the famed Milwaukee Mile at the Wisconsin State Fair Pair, the oldest racing circuit in the U.S. Rice and Bell will compete next week when the green flag drops at 4 p.m. EDT on ABC-TV.
BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Dreyer & Reinbold Honda Dallara): “I think we had a top five and I got caught up in a pile of cars on the final restart. I think we lost two spots on that restart and I tried to fight my way back into it. But we are happy with an eighth.
Heck, with Townsend’s (Bell) tenth, we had two top tens. For a small team like Dreyer & Reinbold, we are pleased to have that here at Indy. There are a lot of bigger teams that finish behind us. This is exciting for the Jordache guys and for Dennis Reinbold and Robbie Buhl. We have a smaller budget than most teams here but I think we competed very well today. I actually thought there would be more crashes than there were, especially at the end. Everybody took care of each other at the end. Now, we can go to Milwaukee and look for more top finishes. This was a very positive step for our team today.”
TOWNSEND BELL (No. 99 William Rast Honda Dallara): “We had a pretty good race for the William Rast team. Our goal was a top ten finish and Buddy had an eighth too. That is a big building block for this team. That is important as we continue to establish the Dreyer & Reinbold organization.
WE can only take it one step at a time and tonight was important for us. We were able to bring in sponsors like William Rast, EMU Australia and Herbalife to help build this program. It is difficult to run three cars at the Indianapolis 500 and we did it this month. Plus we had all three cars finish. That is extremely important for the rest of the season.
We seemed to be in the wrong place and wrong time a couple of times on the restarts. Finally, at the end, I just said the heck with it and went for it in the final restart. I really wanted to finish the race this year after not finishing in my last race here (in 2006). Now we can go and hope to improve this team so we can race with the top teams in the series.”
MILKA DUNO (No. 23 CITGO Honda Dallara): For my second time at the Indianapolis 500, I am excited to have finished this classic race. Throughout the race, we were in good contention and made routine pit stops and tire changes. It was during Lap 168 that the No. 91 car (Buddy Lazier) essentially forced me to go on the apron. His tire made contact with my front wing and tires. I was able to control the spin and no major damage was done to the car. The CITGO car was brought back to the ga- rage, and I took off running through the pits to meet the team. The guys did a tremendous job to getting the car back out. Their efforts allowed us to gain two positions back on the track to finish 19th." Contacts: Kaaveh Akbari; 317-727-6957, Tom Blattler; 317-525-5692, Kathryn Wellner; 414-852-5277