Daly Thinks DRR’s Sharp Focus on Indy Creates Winning Recipe

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Dennis Reinbold Conor Daly

The spark to Conor Daly’s latest shot at his first Indianapolis 500 by Gainbridge victory ignited with a direct message on social media.

Indiana native Daly initially ignored the message from Chris Wade, a member of the decentralized internet blockchain community called Polkadot, who Daly said sent a long message wondering if the company would be a good Indy 500 sponsor.

“It was a long message,” Daly said. “I didn't know what was going on. I get a lot of weird DMs on the internet. You never know which one could be.”

The message was legitimate. Daly and team co-owner and Indianapolis auto dealer Dennis Reinbold pulled the car cover off the No. 24 Polkadot Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet on April 9 in Pagoda Plaza at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Less than 24 hours later, Daly and the car were speeding around the 2.5-mile track in the Open Test.

While Daly has recorded a top-10 finish at Indy in three of the last five years, three while driving for Ed Carpenter Racing and the other in 2019 with Andretti Global, he thinks this year, his first in a race car with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, is his best shot at victory in what will be his 11th “500” start.

“I have driven for Dennis before, but it's been a car off his dealership floor,” Daly said.

Several years ago, when Daly’s Subaru broke down, Reinbold provided Daly with a loaner from one of his local car dealerships. Daly hopes to repay Reinbold with a win this May.

“I knew it was a good investment with Conor back then,” Reinbold said. “It would pave the way for him signing with us at a later date.”

With Daly in one car and veteran Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2012 INDYCAR SERIES champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner in the other, the organization appears poised for a strong Month of May.

“Obviously, in my position right now, I would have loved to have been doing more INDYCAR racing,” Daly said. “But the Indy 500 is, without a doubt, my ultimate goal. I want to be able to know what the milk tastes like.

“It's the best possible scenario. All you do when you show up to May is have the best chance to win. I've obviously got a lot of experience there now. I do believe I know what it takes to run up front.

“I know what I want. Dennis knows where the speed comes from. It's hopefully all the work we've done on the offseason, everyone coming together, a great recipe for success.”

Those ingredients are rooted in DRR’s unique game plan for success. The Indianapolis-based team specializes in preparing cars only for the Indy 500. The team has contested only “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in nine of the last 10 years. The only exception came in 2020, when DRR raced in the three events around the 2.439-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

“Indy was at the core of what we did,” Reinbold said. “We didn't have enough sponsorship to be able to really invest in all disciplines of racing, so we focused on Indy at that point in time.”

Reinbold made it known this week that DRR isn’t a part-time team and wants to shed that label. It may not race the entire 17-race slate, but this is a full-time racing team at its core.

Employees aren’t seasonal. Once the checkered flag drops on one Indianapolis 500, the full-time focus turns to next year’s race.

“We recap the Indy 500 every year and focus on what changes we need to make to improve for next year,” Reinbold said. “We've done that and put those things in place.

“We're not just doing this last minute. It's a lot of planning and preparation. We don't spend time and effort on short ovals or road courses or street courses. We focus fully on this race.”

DRR’s cars have enjoyed recent success. Hunter-Reay finished 11th in last year’s Indianapolis 500. Santino Ferrucci was one spot better in 2022. Sage Karam finished seventh in 2021.

That’s great, but Reinbold said the team doesn’t aim to finish in the top 10. It’s here to win.

That’s music to Daly’s ears. He has raced before in Indy 500-only rides. But those situations were different because those organizations also fielded full-season entries.

“I know all of the whole spectrum of what it's like to be at Indy,” Daly said. “There are several elements you need for speed here at Indy. That all happens away from the track. Once you get here, there's a lot that we can do between our engineers to fine-tune.

“But all of the speed comes from the development over the winter, what Dennis is doing with his people at multiple areas. Also helps that Dennis has a great relationship with Chevrolet. We want to have those guys locked in, working with us at a very high level.

“When I go into the shop, where I see where the work is done, that gives me the confidence. All that work is done away from the track. That is where the speed comes from. I believe that Dennis knows where to do the development. That's what makes me excited about being here with these guys.”