After both practice sessions on Friday, it was evident that Sage had the Star Mazda field covered. “I went to bed Friday night knowing we had a great car and that I was really confident on the Toronto circuit. During qualifying on Saturday, the car felt great and we put it on provisional pole by.7 and I brought it in early thinking nobody would touch the new track record that I just set. Unfortunately, my time was surpassed. So, knowing that I probably could have bettered my time, I decided to head back out to the track and just then a Pelfrey car hit the wall causing a long red flag. I never got the opportunity to go out and put the #88 on pole because rain came. So I had to start in P2, which wasn’t bad”, said Sage.
Karam’s car looked perfect in the Saturday morning formation lap and he lined it up for the start of race #1. As the starting sequence began, Sage prepared the Comfort Revolution machine for the start. When the lights turned green, Sage dropped the clutch and the car didn’t move. “There was no indication during the warmup that there was anything wrong. I lost the differential gears when the race started. My heart sunk. My team worked so hard and we all thought we would be victorious”. Karam couldn’t turn a lap and would be forced to start race #2 in last position (P21).
“I know everything happens for a reason, but what happened in race #1 was hard to accept. Starting last in race #2 would make gaining on the championship standings even tougher. My dad always try to offer support and advice in these types of situations, and he does a pretty good job of it. So on Sunday morning, he looked at me and said, “what would Senna do?”, and I immediately knew the answer. We watched the same video of Ayrton Senna carving through the field from last place plenty of times. He made it look so simple and I admired his confidence. My mind was set.”
Sage started race #2 in 21st and quickly went to work passing opponents at the start of the race. “I was told Michael (Andretti) said I needed to get 10 cars on the opening lap. I only got 8 cars on the first lap but it was reassuring to know he has that kind of confidence in me. I continued to pick guys off on a regular basis each lap. I recall passing cars in areas that you probably shouldn’t be passing in, but I wasn’t looking to win a contest in politeness! I kept getting slowed by the yellow flag laps. I only had a total of 9 laps of green flag racing. On the second to last green flag lap I passed three cars in one turn to move me into 3rd place – a podium!!!”
“I continued to push, even on the last lap knowing I already had a podium. I saw the two cars in front of me and I was closing quick on them. Last lap, last turn I stuck my nose in on second place and I couldn’t get enough real estate to make a pass cleanly. So, I had to settle for 3rd. I remember thinking at that moment, the guys (Andretti Autosport #88 crew) would kill me if I wrecked it after coming this far in the race! I simply ran out of laps and believe that one get away”.
“Everything does happen for a reason, and after looking back at race #2, I feel that my driving is at a whole different level. I am very confident in my ability to take the car and tires to their potential. Although I don’t want to make a habit of starting in the back of the field, I got so much more out of that experience, than probably any other race I was ever in. Obviously, I can’t wait to keep this show going with our next stop being in Edmonton, Canada. Don’t write me outta the Championship yet!”.