Carlin has announced today that Sage Karam will drive the #31 Chevrolet in the next round of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series on the streets of Toronto, Canada. Karam, who has previously raced in sixteen IndyCar races, will return to the series for the first time outside of the Indianapolis 500 since racing at Mid-Ohio with Chip Ganassi Racing back in 2015.
The deal is a part of the revolving door of drivers in the second full-time Carlin Chevrolet. The car has been driven by Patricio O’Ward and Charlie Kimball previously this season, with Karam the latest to take to the car. Previously, it was believed that O’Ward would be in the car for Toronto, however, his recent signing to the Red Bull young driver programme and his subsequent entries into Formula 2 and Super Formula may potentially see Patricio not return to IndyCar for the rest of the year at least.
Karam will drive the #31 car with sponsorship from SmartShop Self Storage, who are entering the championship as a sponsor for the first time. After today’s announcement, team boss Trevor Carlin stated that he was “extremely excited” to be welcoming both Karam and SmartShop to the team.
“We are extremely excited to partner with SmartStop Self Storage and to be a part of their debut into the NTT IndyCar Series,” said Carlin. “The Honda Indy Toronto is such a great event and will be the perfect introduction for them into the series. We’ve obviously been following Sage’s career closely since he won the Indy Lights championship in 2013 and he’s done a really great job. I think he’ll be a great addition to the team and a good teammate for Max [Chilton] this weekend.”
Coming off of the back of winning both the USF 2000 and Indy Lights championships, Karam made the step up to IndyCar for the 2014 Indianapolis 500 with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing; where he would finish ninth on debut.
For the following season, Karam was picked up by Chip Ganassi Racing for a twelve race programme, with Sage taking a best finish of third-place at Iowa Speedway. However, he would outside of the top ten in ten of his other races, with perhaps led to him being dropped by the end of the year.
Since then, Karam has only returned to the IndyCar Series for the Indianapolis 500 each season, returning to Dreyer & Reinbold Racing every year. His most recent foray into the event a few weeks ago saw the American take nineteenth-place, ending a run of four consecutive race retirements in the famous event.
Karam’s return to the series at Toronto in just under two weeks time will mark the first time that he has raced off of an oval in the series since 2015 at Mid-Ohio. After today’s announcement, Karam stated that he was “looking forward to the challenge” and that he was hoping to use his “incredible opportunity” to hopefully put himself back in the shop window for further races in the future.
“I want to thank everyone at Carlin for giving me the opportunity to compete in an IndyCar again in the NTT IndyCar series,” Karam said today, “I’m extremely excited and grateful to get back behind the wheel on a road course again for the first time since 2015 and I’m thrilled to carry a great sponsor like Smartstop Self Storage on the side of the No. 31 Carlin Chevrolet.”
“I’m looking forward to the challenge and working closely with everyone on the team to achieve a successful result and take advantage of this incredible opportunity.”
Karam’s first outing in the #31 Carlin Chevrolet will come in practice for the 2019 Honda Indy Toronto on Friday, July 12. The race itself will take place on Sunday, July 14.