Karam’s radio microphone went out early in the race too
SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 29, 2017) – Sage Karam’s Indy 500 run fell short Sunday when an alternator problem forced the 22-year-old driver out of the 101st edition of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Karam, who started 21st in the 200-lap classic, moved steadily up to the 33-car field to 12th at the halfway point of the race before the No. 24 Mecum Auctions Dreyer & Reinbold Chevrolet Dallara stopped on track at lap 125. Karam finished 28th in 33-driver field.
Early in the race, Karam’s communication with his crew was hampered when his radio microphone failed and the Dennis Reinbold-led team had to communicate with Sage through code and hand signals. Corner spotters Aaron Nelson and Gregg Grahn talked with Karam for the adjustments needed for his race car.
Driving in his fourth Indy 500, Karam drove consistently in playing a conservative game through the first 100 laps. And the DRR crew was quick in the pits, as Karam was able to pick up positions after each of the team’s four pit stops.
“We had an alternator let go and there was nothing we can do,” said Karam. “It’s unfortunate, but that’s what happens here. I thought we ran a smart race. A lot of people were doing risky things out there. I just wanted to finish the whole race. We were on pace to do that. We had a top-ten car today. I was driving smart and I was as calm as I could be. It’s unfortunate when something out of your control happens and you can’t fix it, but there’s nothing you can do about it. My DDR crew was outstanding in the pit stops today.
“I had no radio communication with my team from the start of the race. I could hear them. They couldn’t hear me so we had to work on a code to communicate with each other on the fly. Just keying up on the radio for yes or no on the radio and turning fuel mixtures for more wing, less wing, rear wing and front wing. So it was kind of sketchy out there but we were doing okay. It’s a shame – the DRR boys, Mecum Auto Auctions put together a great car this month. It’s tough to see it go down like that. But that’s racing. The beauty of this place is it makes you want to come back more and more because you go through all these hard times. You just want to win.”
Karam will now return to his regular racing program, the Lexus program for 3GT Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship, next weekend in the streets of Belle Isle in Detroit.