Baltimore, MD (Sept 1,2013) – Upon leaving Baltimore as the new Firestone Indy Lights championship points leader, it was mission accomplished for the top American in the series, Sage Karam. “I didn’t get the win, but it certainly felt like a victory after the past two races” said, Sage Karam.
Karam’s qualifying effort was cut short due to a red flag, as he was about to go to a new tire run with six minutes left. After only getting in two hot laps, he still managed to place the car on the grid in the 4th position. “Yes, I was disappointed that we didn’t get the opportunity to maximize our new tire run, but it’s just one of those things that happen on a race weekend. At least I was given a chance to go out and experience getting up to speed quickly on cold tires.”
“The guys on the team all made it clear to each other that we are going for the win on race day. Things are getting pretty intense on the team and that’s all good. I like intensity and I love competition. But it’s a healthy atmosphere for sure, don’t get me wrong”.
Karam’s 2nd place finish in the race was just what the doctor ordered. After the only two disappointing performances all year, he was due for a breakout race. “Only the people very close to me, and our program, have any idea what I put myself through this past month . After Mid Ohio, I knew my situation had to change. My manager/sponsor (Michael Fux) called me up and told me he wanted to meet when I got home from Mid O”.
“Michael Fux sat me down and we identified the problems and concerns. He said, “ok, now lets fix it”. I am sure some sponsors or team owners would turn their back on you when things go less than perfect, Michael Fux did the exact opposite, he invested more time and resources into improving me. I’m sure that he did more behind the scenes than I’m aware of, because I just felt like everybody around me was heading in the same direction”.
The difference was evident immediately on the time sheets as Sage was competitive in every session. “Obviously I can‘t share everything we worked on, but getting my mojo back was a lot easier once Michael identified the problems and made the changes.”
Karam is not only the points leader, but the top American is also the youngest in the series. “Right now I really don’t want to discuss the championship, I want to focus on staying aggressive, hungry and winning races. Before the race, Sam (Schmidt) and Michael (Fux) gave me the green light to drive as hard as I wanted to. A lot of other people told me to be conservative and think points. Thinking points and driving to a championship is the quickest way to lose a title. I found that out this year and I will never make that mistake again. The first lap pass I made on Munoz and Chaves in turn 3, well, I am not sure I would have attempted that pass three weeks ago? But it ended up making a big difference in the race and that style of driving suits me. Plus, I know the fans enjoy it”.
One of Sage’s assets has been his relationship with Sport Psychologist Dr. Jarrod Spencer. “I have been with Jarrod for four years and having him on my side was a big help these past three weeks. Even some of the SPM IndyCar team sponsors have reached out to me to get me through this funk. It’s been a total team effort and I am fortunate to be where I am”.
Another area Karam refuses to venture into is next year’s plans. At only 18 years old, combined with a successful Light’s campaign this year, the door is open to many possibilities for next year. “I have my sponsor manager Michael (Fux) and reputable manager in Mickey Ryan taking care of those things. If they tell me to drive an IndyCar, then that’s what I do. If they tell me to drive a Lights car or a sports car, then I do that. My job, and my passion, is to drive and that’s what I do. When I am on the track it’s all business. I am not driving to win friends or enemies… only to win.”
It was a big weekend for Sage from a sponsor standpoint as well. Longtime sponsor Comfort Revolution has home offices in close proximity to Baltimore as does Just Be Natural. “Comfort Revolution is an amazing company and I wouldn’t be racing if it weren’t for them. I wish everybody would order a new Comfort Rev mattress or pillow this weekend…tell them Sage sent you! JBN and Tag Heuer Eyewear was on site for the event and they both have been very supportive of my racing this year. Reaching the podium and taking the lead for Comfort Revolution, JBN and Tag Heuer Eyewear was exciting. Plus, I had a lot of friends and family drive in to watch this race as well”.
Next race will be on the streets of Houston, Texas, on October 5th. Two weeks later the series will wrap up on the oval in Fontana California. For more information on Sage follow him on Twitter @SageKaram or visit www.sageKaram.com and purchase a “Sage Shirt”.