SPEEDWAY, IN (April 30, 2020) – Sage Karam’s disappointment over last week’s Circuit of the America (COTA) race has finally subsided as the Nazareth, PA racer readies for this Saturday’s (May 2) Round 6 of the INDYCAR Challenge iRacing virtual series at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the First Responder 175 presented by GMR 70-lap event set for 2:30 p.m. EDT to be televised on the NBC Sports Network.
Karam, the winner of the inaugural INDYCAR Challenge race at Watkins Glen International, had high expectations for the COTA contest in the No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing WIX Filters Chevrolet car after winning a practice race and dueling with COTA race winner Lando Norris in several practice rounds. But a technical glitch on the pace lap kept Sage from taking the green flag at the COTA round.
“I was upset after the COTA race,” said Karam, who has led the most laps in the five INDYCAR Challenge races so far at 121. “I had really high expectations entering the race as I wanted to go against Lando for the win. We have raced in Sim racing before. But the car just stopped on the pace lap and I had to start the race from the pit lane. Then, trying to get through the field, I was hit a few times and finally retired.”
After also competing in a 24-hour sports car virtual race last weekend, Karam is refreshed and ready for the challenge of the legend 2.5-mile oval at 16th and Georgetown and an impressive 33-car field.
“I think a lot of the drivers are excited to race the IMS oval,” said Sage. “I know that it will be very high intensity. That’s because it’s Indy and it’s the final INDYCAR Challenge event. With only 70 laps rather than 200, the drivers will want to qualify well and get to the front pretty quickly. We had a good oval car at MIS and Motegi, but things didn’t go our way. Hopefully, we’ll have another strong car this Saturday. It should be a great race.”
With the Watkins Glen victory and two road racing poles (Watkins Glen and Barber Motorsports Park), Karam also showed speed on the ovals by leading the most laps (49) at MIS before having his machine hit late in the race. At Motegi, no qualifying lap hurt Sage’s chances but the DRR/WIX Filters driver came from 31st to seventh and recorded the race’s fastest lap (200.007 m.p.h.).
“While we aren’t racing on a real track with real cars just yet due to the pandemic, Sim racing has been one platform that has given the racers an opportunity to show the fans some entertainment while everyone is in their homes,” said Karam. “It also has given the sponsors, like WIX Filters and Mecum Auctions, some additional exposure on a variety of channels.”
Karam’s Sim racing knowledge has been helpful to a number of drivers with less virtual racing background during the INDYCAR Challenge virtual series.
“I have coached a lot of guys who have raced cars for decades, but they are new to Sim racing,” Sage explained. “I try to explain the settings and actually help them set up their Sim rigs and cars. Now, I just hope I don’t give them too much information and they go out and beat me in the races. It’s good to have more competition with each race too.”
This Saturday’s INDYCAR Challenge event 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.TV channel available for fans and media to watch his “in-car” camera at sagekaram24.