Dennis Reinbold will have a pair of oval experts in Conor Daly and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay for both of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s Indianapolis 500 entries and welcome a new event partner in Don Cusick to the DRR family.
The American duo represents the strongest lineup assembled by the Indianapolis-based team since its formation in 2000. And with the addition of Cusick Motorsports as a partner across both entries, Reinbold is happy to see their relationship, which started in 2023 by fielding a car for Stefan Wilson, expand into one that includes Daly and Hunter-Reay under the Dreyer & Reinbold-Cusick Motorsports banner.
“Don’s going to take a role on both cars as opposed to a one car with Stefan last year and we’re just all going to work together to try to generate the appropriate amount of sponsorship to apply to the two cars,” Reinbold told RACER. “This is a great group to go racing with, and we couldn’t ask for two better drivers than Ryan and Conor.”
For Cusick, going racing for the first time without Wilson will be a bittersweet experience, especially after he was ruled out from racing last year after being injured in a post-qualifying crash caused by a rival, but he hopes the evolving relationship with DRR can include the Briton in the future.
“We’re definitely not done with Stefan,” Cusick said. “The situation with teams and available cars and engines at Indy, we talked to everybody and weren’t able to find anything that worked for us with a team that had an opening. So our thought was to keep Cusick Motorsports involved, and we felt that if we weren’t there, we might break the chain, so we wanted to continue with Dreyer & Reinbold.
“There’s no better way to make that happen than to get more involved with Dennis and his team — and if we could do a third car in the future for Stef, we’d like to do that, even if it means buying a car for it. The way I look at it is last year [with DRR] we were dating. This year’s we’re engaged, and if all continues to go well, next year, we’ll get married.”
For Hunter-Reay, who joined DRR for the first time in 2023 (pictured, top) and charged from 18th to 11th in the race while dealing with a broken front-wing adjuster, the opportunity to build on the positives and work with Daly is a source of great encouragement.
“I really enjoyed every day going to the track and working with this group and the constant feeling of enthusiasm throughout the whole garage,” said the 2012 IndyCar Series champion. “We were competitive the whole time and had a really strong effort on race day. I was eager to come back with them for 2024 and I’ll miss having Stef there, but I’ve texted with Conor and we’ll get to work on making this team the strongest it can be.”
Conor Daly is relishing an Indy 500 reset alongside Hunter-Reay. Motorsport Images
Hunter-Reay and Daly laughed at the notion of DRR-Cusick’s Indy 500 lineup being an “Ed Carpenter Racing Reunion Tour” after Daly was released by ECR in June and replaced by Hunter-Reay who was uninterested in returning after the 2023 season was completed.
Daly had a few spicy words to offer for Hunter-Reay in the aftermath of the ECR driver change, but there are no lingering issues between the IndyCar veterans as they join forces with DRR-Cusick.
“Dennis actually first called me maybe two years ago to ask about my availability, but I was returning to my former employer so it wasn’t right on the timing. But when I was free, he called and said, ‘I believe you can win this race, and we really want to work with you,’” Daly said. “And I was like, ‘Well, that’s what I want to do!’ Dennis said, ‘I don’t care what it takes, we just want you to drive for us and we don’t need you to come with any money,’ and I knew it would be silly not to take advantage of this opportunity.
“I also wanted to thank Don Cusick for getting involved with us, and being teamed up with Captain America, Mr. Ryan Hunter-Reay, is going to be really cool. Despite what I might have thought or said about him last year, it’s two Americans using Chevrolet engines in a great team with a great chance of doing something big.”