Sage Karam feels great to be back in an IndyCar, After 9 months off Indy 500’s youngest driver ready for Sunday
Dreyer & Reinbold – Kingdom Racing driver starts 23rd in Gas Monkey Energy Chevy
The youngest driver, at age 21, in the 100th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race has been watching from the sidelines for the past nine months following a crash while leading the race at Pocono in August.
It has been long and sometimes frustrated nine months that took time to rethink his racing plan while working out hard for another opportunity and assisting his father, Jody, as a high school wrestling coach. Sage has met with counselors, built his body into its best shape ever and recharged his batteries for another strong performance in 2016.
Karam’s former team owner Dennis Reinbold came to Sage in December with a game plan for the 100th Indy 500. Karam didn’t have a solid program yet for 2016 and Reinbold’s plan with a new and exciting primary sponsor in Gas Monkey Energy gave Sage a shot to win the 100thrunning of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
“I was helping my dad with his wrestling team and working out hard,” said Karam, who’ll start 23rdSunday in the No. 24 Gas Monkey Energy Chevrolet for Dreyer & Reinbold – Kingdom Racing. “Then Dennis called and said he had a great new sponsor and he wanted me in the No. 24 for the 500. I was very exciting for several reasons. First, I was happy to be driving for Dennis’ team again. We had a great run in 2014, my rookie year. We came from 31st to ninth and I won the ‘Hard Charger Award.’
“Secondly, I was a big fan of the Gas Monkey Garage and it’s ‘Fast N Loud’ show on the Discovery Channel. I have been watching the show for several years and thought it was very cool. I was extremely excited to work with Richard Rawlings and his guys at Gas Monkey. So I just couldn’t wait to get into the Gas Monkey Energy machine at IMS.”
But Karam had to wait his turn. He had done some promotional work for Gas Monkey Energy and the Indy 500 but he was chomping at the bit to get into the Chevy-powered IndyCar. Then he had to wait through the Grand Prix of Indianapolis weekend too.
“I kept busy that weekend as I worked on the IndyCar Radio Network for the Indy Lights and IndyCar races,” Karam explained. “We did some media interviews and I had pit stop practice with the crew. I knew the time was getting close to jumping back into the driver’s seat.”
On May 16, Karam returned to track for the first time since the August crash at Pocono. The smile on Sage’s face said it all that day. He was back in the cockpit and doing what he loves – driving a race car.
“It was a great feeling and, after a few laps, it felt like I did last August in the race car,” he said. “It was a blast. I love coming to Indy for the 500 and I enjoy working with the Dreyer & Reinbold – Kingdom Racing guys. We had a good week of practice and we learned a lot about the race car.”
Karam completed 384 laps during the first week of action at the legendary 2.5-mile oval and, following a strong final practice, the Nazareth, Pa., racer has regained his confidence behind the wheel.
“We didn’t qualify (23rd) as well as I had hoped,” admits Sage. “But the car felt great in the final practice session Monday with almost 100 laps (93) and I felt I could drive the car in various spots on the track in hotter conditions. It’s exciting to jump out of your race car after strong performance in the last practice.”
Karam will take the No. 24 Gas Monkey Energy Chevrolet to the track Friday in the annual CARB Day one-hour practice round in final preparation for Sunday’s 100th edition of the world’s biggest auto race. In addition, Sage and his crew will participate in the popular Pit Stop Challenge featuring the top pit crews in head-to-head battle in the pit lane.
“We finished second in the Pit Stop Challenge with this team in 2014,” said Karam. “This team is fast on pit stops and I need to hit my marks on Friday in the Challenge and, most importantly, in Sunday’s race. I think we can run to the front in the Indy 500. It’s feels awesome to be back in the car and racing again.”
Sunday’s 100th Indy 500 will be televised nationally on ABC-TV with the green flag set to drop at12:14 p.m. EDT. A sellout crowd will be on hand to witness history in the 200-lap classic.
And Karam hopes to make more history by becoming the youngest winner in Indy 500 history.
Contact: Tom Blattler, Dreyer & Reinbold – Kingdom Racing, 317-525-5692
Mitch Robinson, Dreyer & Reinbold – Kingdom Racing, 317-777-0720
Dreyer & Reinbold – Kingdom Racing and Gas Monkey Garage Partner for Historic 100th Indy 500 with young star Sage Karam
DALLAS (January 21, 2016) – Dreyer & Reinbold – Kingdom Racing announced tonight that Gas Monkey Garage will serve as its primary sponsor partner for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 set for May 29, 2016 at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway with young star Sage Karam driving.
The highly-popular Gas Monkey Garage, featuring performance car builds in the global television show, “Fast N’ Loud” on Discovery, makes its first appearance in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
Led by Richard Rawlings, Gas Monkey Garage has been a successful automotive brand and collector car restoration business since 2002. The Gas Monkey Garage brand is one of the world’s most visible globally within the automobile industry and will launch their new energy drink this year, using the Indianapolis 500 as a platform.
The distinctive look of the No. 24 Gas Monkey Garage Special will be the latest Indy 500 entry for Dreyer and Reinbold dating back to the 1930s with legendary car builder Floyd “Pop” Dreyer. Dreyer’s grandson, Dennis Reinbold, has entered the Indy 500 dating back to 2000, successfully qualifying thirty-four entries in its history.
Karam, 20, is one of the top young open-wheel drivers in the world after an impressive young career with championships in Firestone Indy Lights and US Formula 2000. The Nazareth, Pa. native and former high school wrestling star made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in the 2014 Indy 500 for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing with a sensational drive from 31st to ninth. Karam won the “Hard Charger” award for his stellar performance as well as he and his crew placing second in the Indy 500 Pit Crew Championship.
“We are extremely pleased to announce our Gas Monkey Garage Energy products and the association with the Dreyer & Reinbold – Kingdom Racing team for the historic 100th Indianapolis 500,” said Rawlings. “The Indy 500 is the biggest race in the world and our Gas Monkey Garage brand ties in very well with the team and legendary race. We can’t wait to see the Gas Monkey Garage Special on the track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
DRR – Kingdom Racing, a past winner in the Verizon IndyCar Series, has recorded four top-ten finishes in the Indy 500 including fourth in 2012, seventh in 2010, eighth in 2008 and ninth in 2014.
“We are extremely excited and proud to partner with Gas Monkey Garage,” said Reinbold. “We’ve been working very hard since last year’s 500 to build a strong commercial and competitive program for the 100th Running. We believe Sage Karam is a very talented driver and we can’t wait for the month of May. The Gas Monkey Garage brand is known worldwide and bringing them to the Indianapolis 500 for the first time is a thrill.
With my family’s history at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, this new venture continues Dreyer & Reinbold’s legacy at the Indy 500 and we believe we’ll have an excellent chance to run at the front of the field on May 29.”
Kingdom Racing also returns as co-entrant for the 100th Indianapolis 500 for its ninth consecutive appearance at the Indianapolis 500.
“We, at Kingdom Racing, are extremely excited to be joining Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and Sage Karam for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500,” said Kingdom Racing’s Managing Director Davey Hamilton. “We have past experience with Sage and have confidence we can be contenders for the win.”
Karam returns to the Indianapolis 500 for his third appearance in the world’s biggest auto race after competing in twelve events in 2015 for Chip Ganassi Racing. Sage scored his first IndyCar Series podium with a third at Iowa Speedway and also notched a fifth at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Karam has also competed in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring sports car events.
“I’m really thrilled to be associated with Gas Monkey Garage for the 100th Indy 500,” said Karam. “It’s exciting to return to the Dreyer & Reinbold – Kingdom team as well. We had a great run in 2014 at Indy. As a kid, Discovery Channel was one of my favorite stations and, mostly recently, I really got into the ‘Fast N’ Loud’ show with the Gas Monkey Garage guys. I love cars and these guys are fun to watch. So I can’t wait to work with them and drive the Gas Monkey Special in May.”
In addition, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing will be making other specific sponsorship announcements for the 100th Indy 500 in the near future.
Karam and the No. 24 Gas Monkey Garage Special will take their first official 2016 Indy 500 laps Monday, May 16, in practice with qualifications set for Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22. The famed 100th 500-mile classic will start at 12:20 p.m. EDT on Sunday, May 29.
Team Website: Dreyer & Reinbold Racing