Fuel Pressure issue hurts Karam’s practice runs in DRR Oil2Soil Chevrolet
INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 1, 2020) – Sage Karam was anxious to return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for third time in 2020, his second action on the fast 2.439-mile, 14-turn road circuit. Sporting a new livery with his No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Oil2Soil Chevrolet IndyCar, Sage came to Indy ready to fight in the INDYCAR Harvest GP Doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday.
However, a fuel pressure issue with Karam’s race car in the early afternoon first practice round hurt his expectations for a strong qualifying effort late Thursday afternoon.
With very limited practice (11 laps), Sage entered the 12-minute Race 1 qualifications having not run the faster Firestone Red tires on the IMS road course yet on Thursday. Chevrolet personnel and the DRR crew found the problem just a few minutes before qualifying and rolled the DRR Oil2Soil Chevy to its pit position.
With just two laps on the Firestone Reds, Karam drove his mount to a minute, 10.6224 seconds for an average speed of 124.329 miles per hour. Sage will start 21st in Friday’s 85-lap Harvest GP Race 1 which is set to take the green flag at 4 p.m. EDT. The event will be televised on the USA Network.
Saturday’s on-track activities will include a 30-minute qualifying session set for 10:20 a.m. EDT with a 2:30 p.m. 75-lap main event for the Harvest GP Race 2.
“Qualifying was better than in July,” said Karam, the former Indy Lights and F2000 series champion. “I would love to be better that 21st. I thought we might be better but we had a fuel pressure issue in practice. That cost us almost 3/4 of the session. We never got to run on the Firestone Red tires, so it was a blind shot going into qualifying. The car felt good in qualifying but I was a little frustrated. I would try too hard and miss a bit of a corner. I’d say, ‘Rats, it cost me a tenth here and a tenth there.’ Unfortunately with the Red tires, you get one shot for a good lap.
“Not having the ability to run in the full practice session really hurt us. It’s a doubleheader weekend luckily and we learned from this qualifying. We’ll be ready for Saturday qualifying now. Friday’s race is longer than Saturday and it gives us a different strategy. In July, our race car was good and we had some bad luck with the yellow flag session. I think we have a pretty good race car after our runs during the July race. We hope we get a few breaks for Friday’s race too.”
Friday’s Harvest GP will be Karam’s ninth career road racing start in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. It marks the DRR team’s second start in the past seven years. Karam drove to 23rd position in the July 4 INDYCAR GP here at IMS.