Sage Karam is relying on preparation, luck and a little bit of numerology as he prepares for his sixth Indianapolis 500 appearance later this month.
Karam will be returning to the Speedway with Dreyer & Reinbold, the team with which he has made all but one of his Indy starts to date, and with which he claimed a memorable top 10 finish on his debut in 2014.
“I always feel good coming in, and I feel like every year I feel better than the year prior,” said Karam, who was also recently confirmed to a partial ARX2 program with DRR.
“Last year I felt really, really strong coming into the month, and I didn’t think I could feel much more confident about how things were going to go, and even this year I feel more prepared, more mature mentally. Last year, I had a rough year before May. I had to go through shoulder surgery, and I had to get through that, so my training kind of got put back a little bit. But when I came into May, I was ready to go. And this year I’ve just been grinding away mentally, physically, and feel pretty good.”
While Karam’s race pace at Indy has traditionally been strong, that has not been reflected in the results. Last year’s race ended in the Turn 4 wall, 44 laps before the checker. The year before, his battery died. In 2016, a crash at Turn 1. And in 2015, with Ganassi, a collision with Takuma Sato. Karam is convinced that not much needs to change in order for him record a finish more representative of his pace.
“You know, it is really cool to say that it’s my sixth one, and I’m 24 years old. 24 years old this year, and car 24 — hopefully it’s a good omen, and it’ll bring us some good luck,” he said.
“We just need some luck on our side. We have the speed. I think historically you’ve seen that we don’t qualify in the first couple rows, but come race day, I think if you go around and you asked the guys on Carb Day who looks quick in race trim, I think a lot of the guys will say Dreyer & Reinbold cars look pretty good. We focus a lot on the race car and how it’s going to perform on Sunday, and every year Dennis [Reinbold] and his guys, they give me the best car I could ask for.
“We’ve just got to pretty much do what we did last year and have some luck, and if we do that… I mean, there was less than 50 more laps and we were in the hunt to do that thing. We get it to the end, I think we’ll be good.”