By: Ashley McCubbin
Unlike some of his fellow competitors, Sage Karam has experience on IRacing through playing the video game over the years. So it was no surprise to see him score the victory in the first round on Saturday.
However, it wasn’t all fun and games. Although he dominated the event, it almost unraveled in the late stages.
“I wasn’t totally in control the whole way,” he commented. “Had a few moments for sure, especially late in the race, had a lapper spin right in front of me and nearly lost it all there.”
There was also concerns after having watched fellow competitor Will Power do qualifying sims all week long. However, Karam kept confident in his abilities, enough that he sandbagged through the practices.
“That was the hardest part,” he admitted. “Like I literally sandbagged so much and just wouldn’t put a lap in because I knew these guys that are on the podium with me, if they saw me put a 24.6 in, they were going to sit there all night until they got down to 24.6, and I just couldn’t have that, so I definitely sandbagged.”
Everything paid off, as he ultimately scored the victory on Saturday.
“It was cool to get Wix up front and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and it means a lot to those guys, and during this time where we can’t really do much,” he said. “It’s great to be able to get the sponsors out and the teams out and be able to give the fans and the media something to cover and watch and have some fun.”
Despite his domination, Karam admits being an “open book” for his competitors, willing to answer questions where he can to help others get up to speed.
“I mean, I was trying really hard to make things right for everybody,” he explained. “At the beginning a lot of guys couldn’t do more than two laps, and I worked with iRacing to really just try and get a setup that was easier to drive for everybody, and we started working on things and got into a range that I think was pretty respectable at the end there.
“I felt like I had a lot of best friends this week just because everyone knew I was like a sim guy, and so many people were setting up rigs and everything and just calling me. I had so many people FaceTiming me, just like how do I put this together, what setting do I put this, and yeah, I was a pretty popular guy for a little bit there.”
Now moving forward, the focus shifts to the second week, with the group headed to the virtual Barber Motorsports Park.
“I’m looking forward to the rest of them,” he said. “It’s kind of cool, you’ve got like a complete mixed bag. You’ve got guys who literally just signed up for iRacing this week, and then you’ve got guys that have been there forever, since like 2007, like me. You know, it’s pretty cool to see and try and help out everybody and get them fully up to speed, and I think it was really awesome to see the amount of time and prep that every driver put into it.
“It was almost every single day, all hours of the day for the past week of drivers just in the rooms, doing laps. Even though some guys were new to it, nobody wanted to be that guy that just was out there just cruising around. We’re all competitors. We all want to do our best. We all want to win, and it was really impressive to see everybody grab it by the horns and get after it. Big hats off to INDYCAR, big hats off to the drivers, all the teams, everybody who made it happen. It was a really cool event, and I really hope the fans enjoyed it.”
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