Tough Weather Conditions Hamper Sage Karam’s Run Sunday in Final Indy 500 Qualifications in Gas Monkey Energy Chevy
21-year-old driver posts a four-lap average of 226.436 MPH for 23rd Starting Spot
SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 22, 2016) – Sage Karam, the youngest driver in the 33-driver field at age 21, was anxious to make another four-lap qualifying attempt Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after Saturday’s initial time trials for the 100th Indy 500.
Karam, making his third Indy 500 start on May 29, felt good about entering Sunday’s final qualifications with his No. 24 Gas Monkey Energy Chevrolet for the Dreyer & Reinbold – Kingdom Racing team following a Saturday four-lap average of 227.821 miles per hour in cooler conditions.
Sunny skies greeted the racers Sunday morning and the heat raised the track surface temperatures to over 120 degrees as final qualifying began at 2:45 p.m. EDT. With the warmer conditions, most teams looked to establish more downforce in their aerodynamic package on the Dallara chassis.
However, with clouds approaching the track, a cloud cover was formed and the track temperature dropped some ten degrees when Karam made his four-lap run Sunday. With the extra downforce for the hotter conditions, Karam’s machine didn’t have the straightaway speed needed to improve Saturday’s performance.
Karam recorded lap speeds of 227.038, 226.076, 226.390 and 226.243 for an average of 226.436 m.p.h. and a starting position of 23rd for Sunday’s 100th running of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
“We just had too much downforce in the car today,” said Karam, the former high school wrestling star from Nazareth, Pa. “The cloud cover definitely cooled off the track surface and we just didn’t need that much downforce. The car was so good Saturday that I thought we had a shot at tenth. The track was changing every time you go out there. We thought we needed more downforce with the hotter track temperatures and the temps went down ten degrees with the clouds. I wish we could have taken the wedges out of the car and put in some of the speed ramps.
“The weather was constantly changing and it just caught us out. The Gas Monkey Energy crew have been outstanding this week on setups for the race and I feel confident going into next Sunday. It’s not all about today. It’s about next Sunday. It would have made my job easier for the race if we could have qualified a bit better. It’s been nine months for me since my last race. It’s an incredible feeling to be back here at Indy. Anytime you are turning laps here, it’s still a magical feeling. I can’t wait to get back into turn one with 32 other cars and make 200 laps again.”
All of the 33 drivers and their IndyCars will be on track Monday for practice runs at the legendary 2.5-mile oval from 12:30 to 4 p.m. It will be the final practice for the 100th Indy 500 before Friday’spopular Carb Day action.