The American racing driver Sage Karam, born in 1995, collected an impressive record of achievements in different open-wheel racing series early in a career, including being the youngest Indianapolis 500 competitor in 2014, when he finished in the sensational ninth place. Before entering the IndyCar Series, Sage was a champion in two single-seater ladder competitions – the 2010 US F2000 National Championship and the 2013 Indy Lights series.
Sage started his racing career very early
Sage Karam was born on March 5, 1995. He was born and grew up in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. Starting his racing career very early, at the age 8, Sage competed with go-karts. Although he's won numerous titles and trophies, we can say that Sage was dominating in the American junior karting competitions as no other racer before.
He entered the world of big race cars in 2008, participating in the Skip Barber Shootout, becoming the youngest ever winner at the age 13. Next year, he participated in the Skip Barber National championship, winning two races and finishing third in the points, behind Connor de Phillippi and Court Vernon.
The 13-year-old Sage was the youngest ever winner of the Skip Barber Shootout
2010 US F200 National champion
In 2010, he didn't allow anybody to be better than him, dominantly winning the US F2000 National Championship title, driving for Andretti Autosport. In twelve races, Sage clinched eleven podium finishes, including nine wins. He earned the $350,000 Mazda Road to Indy award and moved to the Star Mazda Championship in 2011.
He was among the front-runners in the Star Mazda Championship, still driving for Andretti Autosport. With two wins, he finished fifth in the points, being the best among rookies. In the 2012 Star Mazda Championship season, Sage improved his performances, winning three races and finishing third in the final classification, behind Jack Hawksworth and Gabby Chaves.
Sage Karam in 2010
2013 Indy Lights champion
All three drivers progressed to the Indy Lights Series in 2013 but this time, Sage Karam was the best. He won the Indy Lights title ahead of two Colombians (Gabby Chaves, Carlos Munoz), scoring three race wins and adding six more podiums. Karam was driving for Sam Schmidt Motorsports.
With a $1 million grand prize, Karam was ready for further progress, but there was no place for him in the IndyCar teams, so he joined Chip Ganassi Racing to participate part-time in the 2014 IMSA United Sports Car Championship.
2013 Indy Lights champion
Podium at the 2014 Brickyard Grand Prix
Karam debuted at Daytona 24h, sharing the #01 Riley-Ford prototype with Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas and Jamie McMurray. They didn't finish the race. In March, at Sebring 12 hours, Karam was partnering IndyCar drivers Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan in the #02 Riley-Ford. They finished sixth overall.
Karam participated in two more races later in the season: the Watkins Glen 6 Hours and the Brickyard Grand Prix. He reached the podium at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, finishing second along with Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas.
Sage Karam at the 2014 Indianapolis 500
From 31st to 9th place in the Indy 500 debut
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the place of Sage's IndyCar debut. He was invited to drive for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing at the Indianapolis 500, being the youngest driver at the age 19. He was driving the #22 Chevrolet-powered Dallara DW12, securing the 31st place on the grid.
Although starting from the last row, Karam showed an impressive performance and finished ninth. He missed the Rookie of the Year award because of the 36-year-old NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, who also participated for the first time at the Indy 500, finishing sixth.
Sage Karam in 2015
2015 - full IndyCar season with Chip Ganassi Racing
The season of 2015 started with one more Daytona 24h participation and one more DNF result. Karam's co-drivers in the #01 Riley-Ford were Scott Pruett, Joey Hand and Charlie Kimball. Chip Ganassi Racing signed Sage for his first IndyCar Series season, giving him the #8 car.
Karam was sharing the car with Sebastian Saavedra who participated in four races. Karam participated in twelve races, scoring his maiden IndyCar podium at Iowa Speedway in July, finishing third behind Ryan Hunter-Reay and Josef Newgarden. At the Indianapolis 500, Karam was classified 32nd after crashing out on the very first lap.
Sage Karam at Pocono Raceway before crash
Karam was involved in Justin Wilson's fatal crash
The 2015 IndyCar season was marked by Justin Wilson's death at Pocono Raceway, in which Sage Karam had a significant role. On lap 180, while leading, Karam hit the wall at Turn 1. The nose cone of his car flew away and hit Justin Wilson in the head.
Unfortunately, injuries were fatal and Wilson died the next day, on August 24. For Karam, it was the last race of the season, he finished 20th in the final classification, third-placed among rookies.
Video : Sage Karam crashing at the 2016 Indy 500
Only one IndyCar race in the 2016 season
In the 2016 IndyCar Series season, he was replaced in the #8 by Max Chilton. During the season, Karam returned to the race track only once, at Indianapolis 500, driving the #24 Chevrolet for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. He started from the 23rd starting place. On lap 94, Sage went wide while trying to pass Townsend Bell and slapped the wall in turn one. Karam's car slid against the wall all the way to the backstretch and it was the end of his race. He was classified as 32nd.
Switching to sports car races in 2017
During 2016, Karam worked as a test driver for Lexus, preparing to switch his focus on sports car racing. He debuted with 3GT Racing's Lexus RC F GT3 at 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona, the first round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.