INDIANAPOLIS (May 22, 2021) – In Saturday’s first round of Indianapolis 500 qualifications, Sage Karam drove the No. 24 DRR AES Indiana/500 Festival Chevrolet to a four-lap average of 229.158 miles per hour to place 32nd in the 35-driver field as the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team prepares for the 105th “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” classic next Sunday.
Karam, the former Indy Lights champion from Nazareth, PA., attempted to improve his early qualifying run later Saturday afternoon in the hotter conditions but we unable to best his previous four-lap speeds of 229.509, 229.205, 229.062 and 228.858 m.p.h.
Saturday’s time trials set up for Sunday’s Fast Nine position qualifying and the “Last Chance” qualifying for the final row in the 33-car starting lineup for the May 30 200-lap event at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Karam, the 2014 “Hard Charger Award” winner, will compete for one of the final three spots in the Indy 500 field Sunday at 1:15 p.m. EDT with drivers Will Power, Simona de Silvestra, Charlie Kimball and R.C. Enerson.
A late afternoon two-hour practice period (5 – 7 p.m.) will wrap up Sunday activities with the entire 33-car field participating in the last session before next Friday’s annual “Carb Day” events.
“Actually, our earlier qualifying run felt pretty good, but we just weren’t fast enough for the fast 30 positions today (Saturday),” said Karam. “We just struggled the last two days with our qualifying setup after three good days in race trim. We just don’t have the first and second lap speeds that others have had. The guys who run 231s can afford to fall off in the later laps. We are consistent with our laps in qualifying, but we need faster opening laps. Overall, the car very balanced but we need more speed.”
Sunday’s events will include a 30-minute practice at 11 a.m. for the five “Last Chance” qualifiers and the 1:15 p.m. “Last Chance” qualifying round with the Fast Nine run for the pole position at 3 p.m.
“Carb Day” practice next Friday is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the 105th Indianapolis 500 set to begin with the drop of the green flag next Sunday, May 30, at 12:45 p.m.