Sage Karam making first IndyCar start at Fontana

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Sage Karam’s on-again, off-again relationship with the Verizon IndyCar Series continues this week in the MavTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway.

After a two-week separation period with the Toronto race and a bye week, Karam is once again in the cockpit of the No. 8 Chip Ganassi Chevrolet. Karam was last behind the wheel in the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.

“I’m really excited to get back in the car this weekend,” Karam said in a release. “I think the last few races we’ve improved our speed, which is just even more motivation for me for the race in Fontana.”

Saturday’s race will be Karam’s eighth start in 11 races in 2015. The other three races – at Long Beach, the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and Toronto – the No. 8 has been contested by Sebastian Saavedra. In those races, Saavedra has an average finish of 14.3. Karam’s seven starts – including two on ovals at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Texas – have yielded an average finish of 18.1.

The Fontana race will be Karam’s fourth IndyCar start on an oval and while it’s his first start there in IndyCar, he has experienced the 2-mile track before.

“This track is a very challenging oval with a lot of room to run different lines,” Karam said. “I clinched the Indy Lights championship at Fontana, so it brings back some good memories.”

Karam’s only race at Fontana came in 2013 in Indy Lights. While he clinched the championship, he didn’t win the race (Carloz Munoz did). The Nazareth, Penn. native started ninth and finished third.

Karam’s results on ovals in 2015 have been mixed. He failed to complete the first lap of the Indy 500 after colliding with Takuma Sato in Turn 1 and he finished 12th at Texas after starting 10 in his first visit to the track ever.

“I’m really focused on eliminating the mistakes I’ve made in the past few races as well,” Karam said. “If we eliminate the mistakes, the results we are looking for will come.”