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Dreyer & Reinbold’s Past Connects To The Present And Maybe The Future At Indianapolis

Townsend Bell's ride for the 2015 Indy 500 has a blur of color on the front depicting his run through the field last year in the 500. [John Wiedemann Photo]

 Townsend Bell’s ride for the 2015 Indy 500 has a blur of color on the front depicting his run through the field last year in the 500.  [John Wiedemann Photo]

The Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team unveiled a little bit of its past and some of its present Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But its driver Townsend Bell, and his modern Dallara-Chevrolet racer, might have some catching-up to do to equal the record of the team’s sprint car from the past.

“I’m very proud to unveil our family’s latest entry in the Indianapolis 500,” said team owner and Indianapolis car dealer Dennis Reinbold, who entered his first car as a 500 team owner in 2000. “Our No. 24 Robert Graham Special has one of the most unique paint schemes in the 2015 field, and I’m pleased that we can display my grandfather, Floyd “Pop Dreyer’s championship winning car next to our newest model. In addition to being a great looking race car, we believe it will be fast for Townsend on May 24th, too.”

But the bright yellow car from the past sitting next to Bell’s mount was also pretty fast, having won the 1938 AAA Eastern Championship with driver Duke Nalon at the wheel and Dreyer turning the wrenches.

Grandpa Dreyer settled in Indianapolis in the 1920’s when he ran out of money while heading to Oklahoma to break horses. He got hired at the Duesenberg automobile factory and soon found himself building race cars. He served as a mechanic and crewman on the Benny Shoaff/ Babe Stapp-driven Duesenberg. Later, Dreyer became an Indy 500 car builder, constructing bodies for three cars that were on the front row of the 1931 race.

Townsend Bell, ready for hte 2015 Indianapolis 500.  [John Wiedemann Photo]

Townsend Bell, ready for hte 2015 Indianapolis 500. [John Wiedemann Photo]

Bell, 40, races mainly in sports car events today, but has competed in six 500’s. He was running second here in 2014 when a rear suspension part failed with just 15 laps remaining. In addition, he is a color commentator for NBCSN’s IndyCar telecasts.

For Reinbold, the 500 is the only race the part-time team enters these days, but there is hope of expanding that someday.

“We did it for the first time last year, not being a full-time team,” explained the owner, “and it’s a challenge. Today racing is so budget driven that we have to keep our focus on the 500. This year, with the new Aero Kits mandated, we’ve got a lot of pressure on us because we’re not full-time. We feel we’re kind of in the same boat as everyone else and are pretty confident that we’ll be in contention.”

And what about returning to the Indy Car series full time? “That’s a very good possibility and we’d like to, LOVE to, get back in it in the future.”

Reinbold’s No.24 Robert Graham Special will also pay homage to NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon who grew up in nearby Pittsboro, Indiana and is in his final full season of NASCAR competition.

“We felt it important to salute Jeff’s tremendous career at the Brickyard by running the number that he made famous,” said Bell. The No.24 script on Bell’s Indy car will match the style of Gordon’s Hendrick Chevrolet race car. Bell also developed a photo montage of Jeff’s Brickyard 400 wins that’s mounted in the car’s cockpit.

Gordon, a five-time winner of the Brickyard 400 here, will drive the Chevrolet Corvette ZO6 pace car and lead the field in this, the 99th 500. He had hoped to run in the May classic in his early racing days, but went south to NASCAR instead.

“While I’ve had great success at the Brickyard as a NASCAR driver, the Indy 500 has always been a special event for me,” explained Gordon, “and this year’s race presents a very cool, unique opportunity-one that I will never forget.”

The 500 will be run on 5-24-2015 and Reinbold’s team, with Gordon pacing the field, hopes that number combination will bring Townsend Bell luck for the future.

 

 

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Paul Gohde
Paul Gohde heard the sound of race cars early in his life. Growing up in suburban Milwaukee, just north of Wisconsin State Fair Park in the 1950's, Paul had no idea what "that noise" was all about that he heard several times a year. Finally, through prodding by friends of his parents, he was taken to several Thursday night modified stock car races on the old quarter-mile dirt track that was in the infield of the one-mile oval -and he was hooked. The first Milwaukee Mile event that he attended was the 1959 Rex Mays Classic won by Johnny Thomson in the pink Racing Associates lay-down Offy built by the legendary Lujie Lesovsky. After the 100-miler Gohde got the winner's autograph in the pits, something he couldn't do when he saw Hank Aaron hit a home run at County Stadium, and, again, he was hooked. Paul began attending the Indianapolis 500 in 1961, and saw A. J. Foyt's first Indy win. He began covering races in 1965 for Racing Wheels newspaper in Vancouver, WA as a reporter/photographer and his first credentialed race was Jim Clark's historic Indy win.Paul has also done reporting, columns and photography for Midwest Racing News since the mid-sixties, with the 1967 Hoosier 100 being his first big race to report for them. He is a retired middle-grade teacher, an avid collector of vintage racing memorabilia, and a tour guide at Miller Park. Paul loves to explore abandoned race tracks both here and in Europe, with the Brooklands track in Weybridge England being his favorite. Married to Paula, they have three adult children and two cats. Paul loves the diversity of all types of racing, "a factor that got me hooked in the first place."
Paul Gohde

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