The driver known as “SK$” has had one hell of a first stint in his maiden Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring appearance.
Sage Karam, who makes his second TUDOR United SportsCar Championship start with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, was half the price of admission on his own in his first outing in the No. 02 Big Machine Records/Comfort Revolution Ford EcoBoost Riley.
In one lap after a restart, he made it from third to first. He passed Wayne Taylor Racing’s Corvette DP on the outside of Turn 1, then past Sebastien Bourdais at Turn 10 for the lead in Bourdais’ No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP.
“First lap, cold tires, I’ve always loved them since i was little,” Karam told MotorSportsTalk after his stint. “I wanted to prove a point and show these guys what I could do. I know it’s a 12-hour race, but I made some good passes.
“Leading here is an honor in itself. And it gave us some points there at the 4-hour mark (for Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup). There’s so many cars, you have to be on your A-game. You’re passing so many people… so many things can happen, everything has to go right. We have two great teammates to put it into victory circle.”
Later on, Karam battled Justin Wilson in a battle of young star versus wily, sage veteran. No pun intended.
“I knew Justin was in the car, and he’d take it to me,” Karam said. “I don’t think I cleaned the front tires well enough and he got around me. I found something in the track with my driving. Caught back up and timed it pretty good. Then we made it stick. Still a long ways to go.”