INDIANAPOLIS – For the third time in four tries, Sage Karam will drive the No. 24 Chevrolet with Dreyer & Reinbold/Kingdom Racing. Like last year, the familiarity with the team excites him, as he’s hoping that this could be the year that he finally winds up drinking the milk in victory lane. But, unlike his previous three Indianapolis 500 tries, Karam has a different mindset for the 101st Running on May 28 (11 a.m. ET/ABC/INDYCAR Radio Network).
Karam, 22 is known as a hard charger and tries to come through the field rather quickly. He knows that and has admitted to it. See, Karam has started the Indy 500 from the 31st, 22nd and 23rd positions respectively. Unfortunately, the last two starting spots have gotten him in trouble.
In his rookie year, Karam was patient and steadily worked his way through the field for a ninth place finish. In 2015, Karam and Takuma Sato had a first lap accident that left him with a 32nd place result. Last year, Karam charged hard from the 23rd starting spot and found himself all the way up to fourth before the midway point.
Then, he crashed while making a bold move in Turn 1 on Townsend Bell on the 93rd lap leaving him with another 32nd place finish. This year, Karam knows that he needs to temper his mentality and not try to do too much so quick.
“Now, I know you don’t really need to get to the lead so soon in the race,” Karam said. “You need to be aggressive, but let the race play out more. It’s 200 laps. I think I’ll be more relaxed this year coming to the 500. It will be my fourth Indy 500 and I have matured more than the previous years.”
That mature attitude could be the one that leads him to a possible win next weekend.
“As a rookie, I was able to finish and I really didn’t know what I was doing from a race craft standpoint,” he continued. “I was just driving the car as fast as I could. I look back at it and still shake my head. It’s interesting to see behind the scenes now for three years and going to my fourth this month. I have made mistakes at Indy. I’ve crashed on the first lap. I’ve crashed at the halfway point. I think I kow where I need to be and when I need to be there in the race. It is the most confident I have felt in my time coming to the 500 because I know we can run up front now. I know this team is capable of winning this race.”
The Pennsylvania native says with the aerokit being similar to this year due to the offseason freeze in development, it makes him even more confident for this month.
“I think the specs for this year are similar to last year’s,” he said. “So that is very encouraging since we went from 23rd to fourth just before the halfway mark. That gives me a lot of confidence coming into this year’s race with a similar DRR setup. I feel great coming into the 101st Indy 500. I feel if I have a car as good as last year’s race car I can be in position to win the race. That’s very exciting for me, the sponsors and the whole team.”