Sage "Happy Hands" Karam is back (Photo Courtesy of IndyCar)

Sage “Happy Hands” Karam is back (Photo Courtesy of IndyCar)

Sage Karam’s Nine-Month Racing Hiatus Ends Monday As 21-Year-Old Racer Gets Back in an IndyCar at IMS
Youngest 2016 Indy 500 Driver Posts a 224 MPH Lap in 1st Day of Practice 

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 16, 2016)  Young Sage Karam has been waiting nine months to get back into a race car. And Monday at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Nazareth, Pa., racer put in a solid day of work in the No. 24 Gas Monkey Energy Chevrolet for the Dreyer & Reinbold-Kingdom Racing team.

 

The 21-year-old driver had not driven an IndyCar since last August when he was leading the Pocono 500 late in the 200-lap event on the “Tricky Triangle.” But those tough times are now behind the talented youngster and he looks forward to his third Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 29.

Karam took part in the Rookie and Refresher two-hour practice session on Monday and clocked in 46 laps, his best at 220.002 m.p.h.  The famed 2.5-oval was then opened to the entire Indy 500 field and Sage recorded 22 circuits with a best of 224.065. Karam’s speed was good for 18thbest on the first day of practice.

“It’s great to be back in an IndyCar and it’s even better to be back in a car at Indianapolis,” said Karam, who won the “Hard Charger Award” in his rookie run in the 2014 Indy 500, advancing from 31st starting position to finish 9th with DRR-Kingdom. “With the nine-month break, I really have been looking forward to this day. And now the day is here and everything felt great. The team has been working hard and I feel good how the day went with the Gas Monkey Energy Chevy.  The car felt really good and we didn’t do a lot of laps. For us to be where we are right now, I feel confident going into the rest of the week. We ran in traffic well today and I have never been able to do that here. The team has put together a solid car right now and we’ll see what the rest of the month brings.”

Team owner Dennis Reinbold, whose family dates back to 1927 in Indy 500 participation, was pleased with Karam and his team for the opening round of practice.

“It was a good day for Sage and the entire team,” said Reinbold. “Sage hasn’t been in an IndyCar since August and I know he was extremely excited to get back in the race car today.  We kept everything very consecutive with the car setup and the team worked on pit stops at the end of the day.  We continue to work with the car as Sage gets more comfortable with the Gas Monkey Energy Chevrolet.  Still a long way to go until May 29.

Marco Andretti paced the practice times Monday with a best lap of 228.978 reading.

Karam and his Dreyer & Reinbold – Kingdom team will continue its practice runs Tuesday with a 12 to 6 p.m. session scheduled. Practice days will fill out the rest of the week before qualifications are set for Saturday, May 21, and Sunday, May 22. The prestigious 500-mile classic will start at 12:15 p.m. EDT on Sunday, May 29.