Sage Karam confirmed for Indy Lights debut

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Sage Karam will make the jump from Star Mazda to the Firestone Indy Lights Series with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, the team confirmed Friday.

Karam is the third of the top three drivers from Star Mazda, which has been renamed Pro Mazda this year per new ownership, to advance this season. Incidentally, they’ve all signed with the same team.

The Nazareth, Pa. native will drive the No. 8 Comfort Revolution entry. Star Mazda champion Jack Hawksworth and runner-up Gabby Chaves are the other two.

“One of the most exciting things I am looking forward to this year is working with proven and talented teammates in Jack and Gabby,” Karam said. “I feel both of these guys will push my driving to the next level and I believe we will feed off of each other’s progress. Hopefully we’ll all bring something to the table each race weekend.”

The Indy Lights field does not yet have double digit entries. Still, besides SPM, Andretti Autosport and Belardi Auto Racing each have two confirmed cars, Team Moore has one with a likely second coming, and at least a handful of other teams and drivers will show up for the season-opening round at St. Petersburg in two weeks.

Sage Karam, Tony Kanaan fastest in Monday’s practice for Indy 500

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In the second-to-last practice session of the week, Sage Karam paced the 33 drivers qualified for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 on Monday.

Karam had a field-best speed of 226.461 mph, followed by Tony Kanan (225.123 mph), Ryan Hunter-Reay (224.820), Charlie Kimball (224.582) and Alexander Rossi (224.507).

Sixth through 10th fastest were Will Power (224.445), Helio Castroneves (224.368), Marco Andretti (224.148) and rookie Zachary Claman Demelo (224.91) and Scott Dixon (223.966).

Power and Castroneves ran the most laps of all drivers at 120 and 118, respectively.

Two other Team Penske drivers struggled to get speed out of their cars. Defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden was 28th-fastest (221.982 mph) and Simon Pagenaud, who was the slowest (220.902 mph) of the 33 cars on-track.

Pole sitter Ed Carpenter was 14th-fastest with a best speed of 223.573 mph in a 100-lap effort.

Most drivers were in race trim or were testing things for Sunday’s Greatest Spectacle In Racing such as fuel mileage, chassis setup and more.

Rookie Matheus Leist missed most of the session with an apparent electrical problem that kept him to just 19 laps.

There was one incident of note during the 3 ½ hour session: IndyCar rookie Robert Wickens crashed coming out of Turn 2 during the first hour of practice.

Wickens appeared to skim the outside SAFER Barrier, went left and then violently turned hard back into the outside retaining wall.

MORE: Wickens wrecks during Indy 500 practice

The Honda-powered machine for the Canadian driver suffered heavy damage to the right side, particularly the right front tire and the right side of the front end.

There will be no further on-track activity for the Indy cars until Friday’s final practice to fine tune things for Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

We’ll have the full practice speed chart, as well as What Drivers Said, shortly. Please check back soon.

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