Carlin has announced today that Conor Daly and Sage Karam will race for them in this weekend’s 2019 NTT IndyCar Series race at Iowa Speedway. Both drivers will return to the team having competed in one race each for the British squad so far this season.
Carlin entered the 2019 season with three drivers on their books. Max Chilton had been set to compete in all seventeen races of the calendar, with Charlie Kimball and Patricio O’Ward sharing driving duties in the team’s second car. However, Chilton announced shortly after May’s Indianapolis 500 – where he failed to qualify – that he would no longer compete in oval races. At around the same time, O’Ward was signed up to the Red Bull driver academy and is now racing for the company in the Super Formula series in Japan as well as select races in Formula 2.
This has left Carlin with spots to fill for the rest of the season. Interestingly, the team has not chosen or has not agreed on a deal to see the experienced Kimball return to the cockpit. Daly was chosen to take over from Chilton in the #59 Chevrolet last month at Texas Motor Speedway, whilst Karam made his return to an IndyCar street race last weekend at the Honda Indy Toronto, driving the #31 car previously occupied by O’Ward.
Despite having not raced on a street circuit or road course in the IndyCar Series since 2015, Karam took to the challenge well and finished the weekend without any major incidents. He started and finished the race in twenty-first place, but team boss Trevor Carlin was “impressed” by how Sage was able to progress from session to session throughout the event.
After today’s announcement, Carlin himself stated that he “couldn’t be more pleased” to have Sage back in the car, with sponsors SmartShop Self Storage also returning as the primary backer for the #31 Chevrolet.
“We were very impressed with Sage’s steady progression throughout the Toronto race weekend and his willingness to learn and adapt. The fact that he hadn’t been on a street course since 2015 and was still able to come right out of the gate confident and constantly improving every session was extremely impressive,” said Carlin.
“The SmartStop Self Storage Chevrolet looked great out on track and their group has been a pleasure to work with, so we couldn’t be more pleased to have them back this weekend in Iowa,” Trevor continued, “Sage has done really well in Iowa in the past, so hopefully, we can use his experience and our past success at Iowa Speedway to come away with a good result for the team and our partners at SmartStop Self Storage.”
As Carlin alluded to, Karam has prior experience at Iowa Speedway, with his best IndyCar race finish coming at the speedway back in 2015 when he took a podium for Chip Ganassi Racing. Before that, Karam took victories at the speedway at all three of the championships that lead up to IndyCar; Indy Lights, USF 2000 and Star Mazda.
Karam said today that he was “really excited” to be returning to a track that has been kind to him earlier in his career.
“I’m really excited to be back again this weekend with Carlin and SmartStop Self Storage for the Iowa 300. Iowa Speedway has always been a good track for me in the past, so I’m really looking forward to getting back to work there,” said Karam.
“Coming off of a very productive weekend in Toronto, I’m looking forward to applying everything I’ve learned and continuing to work with the team to get the best results possible. A huge thank you to everyone at Carlin and SmartStop Self Storage for a great opportunity to race at one of my favourite tracks!”
Conor Daly also spoke of how he was looking forward to this weekend’s race. He took to Twitter stating that he believes that he will be “in a much better spot” this weekend having already completed one race with Carlin last month.
“Looking forward to getting back to work with Carlin this weekend!” Daly tweeted, “Iowa Speedway is a wild place but having already done a weekend together as a team we’ll be starting in a much better spot.”
The 2019 Iowa 300 will take place under the floodlights on Saturday, July 20. Karam and Daly will get their first running during opening practice prior to qualifying on Friday.