Sage Karam's #24 Wix Filters Dallara-Chevrolet in front of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's garage during the 2018 Indy 500 Qualifying weekend. (The Tomaso Collection)
Although Fernando's learning that Mother Speedway calls the Shots...
Not surprisingly, McLaren Racing is learning that competing in the Indianapolis 500 is a whole new Ballgame when you're actually running your own programme, instead of just showing up 'N driving somebody else's racecar...
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
#24. Sage Karam, USA
First Race: 2014
Sage Dangerboy' Karam got his nickname from the Wily PT', nee Thrill from The West Hill, aka "Sugar Ray" (Paul) Tracy before debris from his car rained down upon Justin Wilson at Pocono that fateful day in 2015, which seems to be Sage's Dubious Claim to Fame...
The 2013 Indy Lights Champion made his Indy 500 debut aboard a Dreyer & Reinbold "Satellite Squad" effort for thee Cheepster', nee Chip Ganassi Racing, en route to his career best finish at Indianapolis, (to Date) finishing Ninth, but being out-voted for Rookie Of the Year (ROY) Honours by some Taxicabland Bombers' Driver named Kurt Busch.
Otherwise his last four results have been mostly unforgettable, with a brace 'O 32nd's followed by another lackluster finish of 28th.
While last year, Karam was once again out of the race due to contact, this time finishing an unmentionable P26 after Smacking the Wall on lap 154.
As Karam had a very stressful weekend at Mother Speedway, ultimately "bumping" his way into thee Show on Sunday, during the Last Row shootout for which he was fastest, qualifying 31st at 227.740mph...
#48. J.R. Hildebrand, USA
First Race: 2011
Unfortunately, this likeable Yank', the 2009 Indy Lights Champion is mostly remembered for his failures, most notably his last lap crash during his inaugural race at the Brickyard. Or his being unceremoniously Fired by Panther Racing Owner John "Fans R Us' Barnes! And losing his ride after a single season at Ed Carpenter Racing, (ECR) as Josef STUD! Newgarden's replacement. Having been subsequently replaced by Spencer Pigot.
Yet the 32yr old Californian, who's a "Brainiac" who graduated High School with a 4.12 GPA, and was accepted to multiple Colleges including M.I.T. - which he let his 3yr Deferral lapse in order to pursue racing. And was chided for letting his "Hair Down" and face grow long during the 2017 season, certainly has the Speedway figured out.
As John Randal ("J.R.") has obviously seen both sides of Mother Speedway, from the near thrill 'O victory to the absolute Agony of Defeat! Since we All know how he came Oh, So tantalizingly close in 2011, finishing a Dejected runner-up to the late Dan Wheldon, before his 33rd place finish for Panther Racing two years later resulted in his immediate Dismissal.
Next, Hildebrand strung together a trio of Top-10 finishes for FAST EDDIE', nee Ed Carpenter between 2014-16, improving each year with finishes of 10th, 8th and 6th before being hired Fulltime at ECR in 2017, when he could only muster a 16th place finish.
For 2018, J.R. returned home to Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, (DRR) who gave him his IndyCar start when running him in a pair of 2010 races at Mid Ohio and Sonoma.
Hildebrand, running the No. 66 DRR Dallara-Chevrolet Rolled off from the outside of Row 9, *P27) and finished a very respectable 11th last year.
As it's hard to believe that it was ten years ago now, when I had the pleasure of "Interviewing" J.R. Hildebrand, then fresh off his Formula 1 Testing Adventure...
#66. Fernando Alonso, Spain (DNQ)
First Race: 2017
(Last Race: 2017)
Although I'm guessing Yuhs Don't needs to be a Rocket Scientist to figure this out. Nonetheless, enjoyed Racer's Marshall Pruett's take upon Fernando Alonso, and more importantly McLaren Racing's momentous genesis to gel into a competitive race team in the very compressed Month 'O May.
As I was listening to Pruett's (May 14th) Podcast with Conor Daly, where Marshall correctly eluded to the fact that he's curious to see if their cast of All Stars can conform into a cohesive team effort?
As McLaren Racing is obviously climbing a much steeper mountain this time, versus their first effort two years ago with a Turn Key Andretti Autosport entry, which saw Alonso lead the race before his Hondre' engine Done Blown up!
And it's certainly been a taxing month's outing for the McLaren concern. First dealing with a litany 'O E-E-E' lectrical Gremlins, NO "Prince 'O Darkness" Lucas Lectrics' Jokes here; Hya! Before Fernando became the first driver to Smack the Wall at Mother Speedway!
Although surely thoust Mighty McLaren would rebound and make Thee show, El Correctomundo? As just the Pomp 'N Circumstance of the Glitz surrounding the storied Woking based racing concern would leave Y'all believing this was a foregone conclusion, Ci?
Whilst I'll spare Dissecting what happened, causing McLaren and Fernando Alonso to Fail to Qualify for the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500, since arguably it'll be the Biggest Story of thou Month 'O May.
Having already scribbled my preliminary thoughts over the wonderful accomplishment of the Minnowesqe Juncos Racing and Kyle Kiser sending Fernando & McLaren back Across thou Puddle in;
For the other One Off Drivers in this year's Indy 500 field racing for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing thru Team Stange Racing with Arrow SPM, see; INDY 500: A Wookie', A Three-times Champion and Journeyman Driver round out this year's Cast of One Offers'
(Photo c/o No Fenders ‘Offical Photographer CARPETS')