What a difference a week made for Sage Karam. Just seven days prior to the 2021 Indianapolis 500, the American racer was attempting to qualify his #24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing machine in the last row shootout, and now, he is celebrating an excellent seventh place finish!
In his eighth Indianapolis 500, Karam had by far the best performance at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway of his career to date, earning himself his best result at the Brickyard and giving his DRR team something to cheer about.
From thirty-first on the grid, Karam drove a superb race, even though his water bottle broke with more than a quarter of the race remaining. However, he kept on charging and battled hard with Ed Carpenter and Santino Ferrucci before being forced to settle for seventh.
“It was a long day, but I feel so good for the DRR team and our sponsors AES Indiana and the 500 Festival,” said Karam. “With about 60 laps to go, my water bottle broke, and I was pretty thirsty at the end.
“I was looking at pylon each lap at the end and I could see we were getting in the mix.”
Karam praised his Dreyer & Reinbold mechanics for the hard work they did to keep him in touch during the pit stops, and he feels proud to give the team such a strong result in what is set to be their only outing of the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season.
“The DRR crew were awesome today on our pit stops,” said Karam. “I made a mistake on one stop, but they made it up for me. The crew did an amazing job today and all month.
“It feels so good to go from 31st to seventh. It even beat my rookie run in 2014. I am so proud of this team. We are a little one-off race team, and we were battling with the big dogs all day.
“Dennis (Reinbold) has had faith in me and, today, I was able to bring home a good finish at the biggest race in the world.”
Karam believes that if the team can find some pace in Qualifying trim and start higher up the grid – he has started thirty-first in each of the past three Indianapolis 500’s – they can be in contention to take victory at the Brickyard.
“If we can qualify better, I think we can be in the mix for the win at this place,” said Karam. “This was the hardest I have driven here in my career.
“I have been learning this new car each year and today it paid off. I think I drove the most patient ever here at Indy. You made to be that way today. You couldn’t force things. And that was the key today.”