Thursday, 20 March 2008 23:30
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 2008 season preview : -
The 2008 IndyCar Series season could be a tale of two teams within a team for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice is the veteran looking to find his way back to Victory Lane while Milka Duno is the newcomer, hoping to soak up as much information as possible to work herself into a top-10 contender.
Rice is on board full-time to return to the No. 15 entry for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. Duno’s deal to start the season includes 11 races. Townsend Bell is signed to compete in some of the races Duno will miss. All three will compete in the Indianapolis 500.
"This off-season has involved a lot of hard work for us, but we're excited,” team co-owner Dennis Reinbold said. “As the days count down, we're continuing to get our list of things taken care of. With the off-season testing programs we've had over the winter along with the newly unified IndyCar Series, we're excited for our best season yet."
Rice will be the cornerstone of the effort. The veteran of 80 IndyCar Series races recorded three top-five finishes last season – his first with DRR.
“I definitely think we can improve on where we were at last year,” Rice said. “Obviously, we started off a bit rocky, but as things were progressing you could see that we were making headway. I think we stand to be in a lot better situation this year. Our road course package should be better, our short oval package – both of those were very good, but I think we can improve. But, I think the big thing is you’ll see us improve on the big ovals. That’s our intent right now.”
Duno started seven races in 2007 when she made her debut in Indy-style racing. In the three races when she was running at the finish, she improved at least seven positions from the start of the race to the finish. She’s looking forward to learning from a former Indianapolis 500 winner.
“I told Buddy already, ‘Be ready, because I’m going to ask you everything,’” Duno said. “I’m going to learn from him. He won the Indy 500, he’s a very good driver. You have to be willing to ask the people who have more experience than you. You have to take advantage of things like that. Like everyone when they started here, I had limited experience in the series. I was new. I still have to learn a lot. I learned many things last year, especially from my engineer and from Pancho Carter, my spotter, and I’m going to learn more this year.”
The final piece of the puzzle is Bell, who has 12 career IndyCar Series starts.
"It's great to be back,” Bell said. “It's been a long sabbatical but I know Dreyer and Reinbold Racing is going to be working hard to give me every opportunity to succeed. I can't wait to get out there and mix it up again. I'm excited."
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Capsule
Car Numbers: 15 (Rice), 23 (Duno), TBA (Bell)
Drivers: Townsend Bell, 32, San Luis Obispo, Calif.; Milka Duno, 35, Caracas, Venezuela; Buddy Rice, 32, Phoenix
Team Manager: Gary Neal
Race Engineers: John Dick (15), Chris Finch (23)
Chief Mechanics: Mark Shambarger (15), Fran Reilly (23)
Top 5: 3
Top 10: 13
Laps Led: 49
Best Start: 7th (Milwaukee, Watkins Glen)
Best Finish: 4th (Iowa)
Running at Finish: 27