AUSTIN, TX (April 25, 2020) – Saturday’s INDYCAR Challenge virtual race at the fast Circuit of the Americas (COTA) road circuit looked be another strong racetrack for Watkins Glen International winner Sage Karam and the No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing WIX Filters Chevrolet Saturday in Round 5 of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES iRacing competition.
With a big 33-driver field set for the 3.426-mile, 20-turn road course east of Austin, Karam again showed speed in practice. A slight problem in qualifying relegated the 25-year-old Nazareth, PA race to sixth on the starting grid for the 32-lap contest. But Sage was feeling good about his race strategy and speed for the drop of the green flag on the NBS Sports Network.
Unfortunately, the promising start went south when Karam’s engine shut off on the pace lap. Sage was forced to start the event from the pit lane. After restarting the car, he was more than half of a lap behind the leaders when he entered the circuit.
Karam and his crew then calculated a different fuel strategy in an effort to get back into contention, a position he had been in the first two INDYCAR Challenge road races at Watkins Glen and Barber Motorsports Park by leading 67 of 90 laps.
Sage drove hard from the start as he attempted to stay on the lead lap and pick off cars in a charge through the field. By lap 16, he was running 20th and set up his later pit stop with a chance to run qualifying-type laps to the checkered flag. He continued his fight, seeking to take advantage of the different fuel strategy.
But late in the race, Karam was hit by a spinning car in the last turn of the course. The incident took Sage out of the race and he finished 33rd.
“We just didn’t have the best showing today,” said Sage. “We had a fast car with the DRR WIX Filters Chevrolet in practice. I was anxious for the race. In qualifying, I didn’t get a full lap. But we still managed sixth on the grid. Then, on the pace lap, I don’t know what happened. But the officials said the car shut off and didn’t restart, so I had to start from the pit lane. We fought hard with a different strategy. I thought we might have a shot at a top-ten. Unfortunately, I got hit again towards the end of the race. It’s happened a few times now. But I’m now excited for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway race next week.”
Next Saturday’s INDYCAR Challenge from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is scheduled to be telecast on NBC Sports Network, www.indycar.com and the IndyCar Series YouTube channel. Karam also has his Twitch channel available for fans and media to watch his “in-car” camera at sagekaram24.