When the announcement was made that the NTT IndyCar Series was being shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic on March 13, teams and drivers left St. Petersburg, Fla., and headed home to an uncertain future.
One of those teams was Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, which was set to expand its schedule from an Indianapolis 500-only operation to include more races this year.
“We were disappointed because we felt very well-prepared going in,” team owner Dennis Reinbold recalled. “We had practiced pit stops and worked on the big simulator. We had done a couple days of testing at Sebring. When you feel you are ready and prepared and it doesn’t happen, you are disappointed.
“But you have to understand the circumstances. I think IndyCar did the right thing. At first, they were going to run with no fans and just team personnel, then they decided to not run at all. Again, that was the right call.”
Reinbold has been an Indy car team owner since 2000 and was a full-time competitor through the 2012 season. Beginning in 2013, he scaled back to a part-time program.
As March turned into April, it became came clear that racing wouldn’t return until June, which left many involved in the sport looking for other things to do.
Reinbold quickly switched gears to his second passion — music.
Reinbold has created a country music group known as Dennis and Bob. It features Reinbold’s singing and songwriting, along with his longtime friend Bob Corn’s guitar.
Professional singers are part of the group’s background vocals and the music is professionally mixed in a studio in Nashville, Tenn.
The unexpected pause to the racing season allowed Reinbold a chance to further his music career.
“For the last 15 years, when we’ve been on the road together, we’ve performed,” Reinbold said. “I’ve been writing songs and my friend, Bob Corn, who is our pit-stop coach, is a very talented guitar player.”
Corn is also a music producer who understands the audio mixing process to produce songs. Reinbold and Corn have been traveling to Nashville for the better part of 15 years.
The effort has been so successful that Dennis and Bob have music available for purchase on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Pandora and Amazon Music.
“So far, we have released three songs,” Reinbold said. “We have more coming until we get to 13 songs.
“It has gone well. We’ve had over 10,000 streams and downloads. Right now, it’s a fun thing to work on. We’ve been able to put more time and effort into it than we have before because we are not doing what we normally do in our everyday lives. That has allowed us to work on this.”
The 59-year-old Reinbold has been assisted by another friend, Ben Fowler, who is also a member of the Indy car team’s pit crew. Fowler produces music in Nashville and has brought in other musicians to help Dennis and Bob.
“Ben Fowler has helped us cut through some things and set us up to be able to go down there and have really good players in Nashville record our stuff,” Reinbold said. “It has been a really fun process to be part of. All of us work together and pull together to put out a great product.”
Singing a few country tunes has helped Reinbold take his mind off the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The music part of it has been a great help,” Reinbold said. “We were working on it anyway, but it has accelerated the public release of our music. That part has been a benefit.”
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