Sage Karam will be racing in this year’s Indianapolis 500, the fourth in his career.
The 22-year old Nazareth, Pennsylvania native, announced last week that he will be Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s (DRR) driver for the fourth time in the “500.” Karam is a 2013 champion in the developmental Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires series.
“I think I went in a few times to the ‘500’ with a lot of pressure on myself and just thinking, ‘Oh, I can win this,’ ‘I’ve got to win this,’” said Karam, who was just 18 years old when he first competed in the Indianapolis 500.
“I’ve changed a lot mentally and physically and even just the way I present myself. When I was 18, 19, 20 in that race, I was walking around with too much swagger and stuff like that. I’ve really toned things down. I’ve really got more focused and a lot more serious about everything and, yeah, this is the most prepared and most serious I’m approaching a race,” he added.
His first of four previous “500” starts was actually his best result, ninth, as the rookie won the Hard Charger Award. But misfortune since — he’s placed 32nd twice and 28th — has taught him the importance of patience.
“I had a really strong rookie season. I think I’ve just got to go in there now with the mentality of needing to finish the race and finishing well. In order to finish well, you’ve got to first finish,” Karam said.
DRR owner Dennis Reinbold said Karam will benefit from having a teammate in May with that second driver expected to be officially named in two weeks. The team announced WIX Filters will serve as a chief technical partner on Karam’s No. 24 Chevrolet racecar.
The Reinbold family has a history with the Indianapolis 500 dating back to the 1920s with legendary car builder Floyd “Pop” Dreyer. Reinbold, Dreyer’s grandson, has been an Indy 500 car owner since 1999 with four top-10 finishes including a best result of fourth with Oriol Servia in 2012. His 36 “500” car entries have also included rides for Townsend Bell, Paul Tracy, Davey Hamilton, and Justin Wilson as well as Al Unser Jr. and Buddy Rice, the latter two having won the race with other teams.
“I grew up right there about a mile away from Turn 1 and could hear the cars when I was a kid out riding on my Schwinn [bicycle]and doing races in the church parking lot,” Reinbold said. THE TIMES