Sage Karam, the 2013 Firestone Indy Lights Series champion, is still unsure of his official plans for the rest of 2014 beyond his appearance with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
But the potential exists, per the Associated Press, he could have a full-season opportunity with CGR for the remainder of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Ganassi team president Steve Lauletta told the AP’s Jenna Fryer “we’re close” to a second Ford EcoBoost Riley for Karam and Marino Franchitti.
Franchitti’s in the same boat, where his sports car status for the rest of 2014 is yet to be determined beyond Daytona. Franchitti raced the 2013 American Le Mans Series season with Level 5 Motorsports in one of that team’s HPD P2 cars.
As for Karam, a part-time opportunity with Ganassi could be better than a full-time opportunity elsewhere.
With the number of available full-time seats in IndyCar shrinking, and most requiring several million dollars to bring to a seat, Karam could be molded into part of a development program.
Those anoraks who have followed Ganassi’s history might remember the name Alex Lloyd, when it comes to a development program with the team.
Lloyd was as much a victim of timing as anything else, despite his prodigious talent.
He stormed through the 2007 Indy Lights series en route to the title, but was unable to make the full-time jump into IndyCar in 2008 with few seats available to begin with. Additionally, that was the year Champ Car folded into IndyCar, and several teams came in from the opposing series.
Lloyd was signed to a development contract with CGR, but his only race opportunity came in a jointly entered CGR-Rahal Letterman Racing Honda at the Indianapolis 500, as a teammate to Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Come the fall of 2008, Dario Franchitti was named as a replacement for Dan Wheldon in the No. 10 Target car for 2009, and Lloyd’s shot at one of IndyCar’s prime seats had passed.
@Dale_Nixon Mine wasn’t open-ended. However at the end of 08, issues on the Cup side forced everyone’s hand, to the detriment of me.
— Alex Lloyd (@alex_lloyd) January 29, 2014
Lloyd did what he could over the next three years, including winning the 2010 IndyCar series rookie-of-the-year honors and posting a fourth place finish at the Indianapolis 500 in a Dale Coyne Racing entry. But the commercial realities of the sport have sidelined Lloyd since the end of 2011.
He now is an editor-at-large for Yahoo! Autos; those who watched him coming through the ranks are no doubt frustrated he never got a true top-line opportunity in IndyCar.