The Youngest 2017 Indy 500 driver top 5 in practice 2 – Road racer has hidden oval talent
Sage Karam is set to make his return to the Verizon INDYCAR Series. If you’re looking for a sleeper to steal the INDY 500 victory, this is your guy. On paper he’s a road racer, if you look deeper, he dominates on ovals.
So who’s Sage Karam?
He’s not the typical mold of INDYCAR driver. He’s not overly and annoyingly polished. Just the opposite, he’s full of personality, borderline off-kilter. It’s fantastic. He doesn’t come from a family of bottomless pockets. He’s not a silver spoon child. His dad is currently a High School wrestling coach.
Sage Karam is a young racing driver from Pennsylvania. Jody Karam, his father, was the personal trainer for the Andretti’s. Naturally, early in Karam’s career he drove Andretti fielded machines. However, following the 2012 season they parted ways. Karam defaulted to scratching and clawing for a ride across multiple forms of motorsports, like most racing drivers in the world.
In 2014, Sage Karam made his Indianapolis 500 debut, spectacularly, he finished 9th. Sage could have won rookie of the race. However, that was also the year when NASCAR driver Kurt Busch won the event, Busch finished 6th.
Since then, Karam has made a few rookie mistakes in his Indy 500 starts. In both 2015 and 2016, Sage Karam finished 32nd in the INDY 500, DNF.
In 2015, Sage Karam was a part-time INDYCAR driver for Chip Ganassi Racing. That year he collected two top fives with a best finish of 3rd. Of course, that finish came at on oval at Iowa Speedway.
He’s billed as a road racing driver. However, Sage Karam is a badass when it comes to ovals. Typically, drivers with a road racing background step into an all left-hander circuit with an obvious look of pure confusion. The same thing can be said for an oval driver making a transition to road circuits.
For whatever reason, that mold doesn’t apply to Sage Karam. He ran his debut oval race in 2010. That race was held in his new town of residence, Indianapolis. The USF2000 Series had a scheduled date at a tiny oval track called Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. Sage Karam finished 2nd.
His second oval start came at Iowa Speedway. He won! Winning an oval race, in just two roundy-round starts.
Sage Karam has entered 18 oval races across multiple series throughout his primarily road-racing career. In those eighteen races, he’s won six oval races. 33% of the time he’s declared the winner when making nothing but left hand turns. He’s finished in the top 3, twelve times.
Currently, Sage Karam has a full-time ride with 3GT Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. He’s got a one-race deal with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing for a start in the biggest INDYCAR race of the season, the 2017 INDY 500.
SAGE KARAM (No. 24 DRR Mecum Auctions Chevrolet): “Ended up P5. Very strong day at the speedway with it only being our second day back. We made good strides in the race setup. We haven’t done much with the car for qualifying setup. The car does run pretty well on its own. I’ve been focused on the race setup. The DRR Kingdom guys have done a great job and we’re continuing to do well.”
Ahead of the weekend, Karam was nervous. Stating, “I just wanted to get in the car,” said Karam, competing in his fourth Indy 500 this year. “I was really nervous this morning and had a lot of emotions going through me. Once you go through one practice run, all the emotions go away and it feels good to go flat (on the throttle) around here again.”
If you’re looking to bet on a sleeper to win the Indy 500. Here’s your tip.
Qualifying rounds are set for Saturday (May 20) and Sunday (May 21) with Carb Day (final practice) slated for Friday (May 26). The 101st Indianapolis 500 will begin at 12:15 p.m. EDT on May 28.
Author: Shane Walters