Karam, Carpenter discuss respect in interviews with Query, Schultz

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“R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me.”

Aretha Franklin’s 1967 cover of the Otis Redding piece came out well before both Ed Carpenter (1981) and Sage Karam (1995) were born, but one of R&B’s all-time biggest hits might be the lyric that best described their separate post-Iowa interviews on Query & Schultz, the radio show hosted by Jake Query and Derek Schultz on WNDE Radio in Indianapolis.

At issue was Carpenter’s viewpoint that Karam, the rookie who raced the veteran hard Saturday night in the Iowa Corn 300, lacks the necessary respect both for himself and the rest of the field, and it will eventually catch up with him.

“I was upset with Sage for the way he was driving,” Carpenter told Query. “He’s a talented guy in a great car and I thought he could have been more respectful.

“I wasn’t mad because we were racing close. I was mad because he was doing things 95 percent of the field doesn’t do.”

Carpenter said this has been building over the last three oval races in the Verizon IndyCar Series season, at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, last weekend at the Milwaukee Mile and Saturday night at Iowa Speedway.

Carpenter, driver of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet and team co-owner at CFH Racing, said he was not angry about the close racing and losing the podium but just how Karam is driving, in his estimation.

“The part I was angry was the lack of respect he was shwing for himself, the car, other drivers. That’s what I was going to talk to him about,” Carpenter said.

“It’s the lack of respect he’s showing. It was me in that race. I saw him doing some crazy stuff at Fontana and Milwaukee. I’m not mad he’s on the podium. He ran strong all night. I was angry about how he was driving, not that he beat me.”

Karam, who came on the show before Carpenter, noted his respect for not just him, but the entire field.

“I respect him. He’s a race winner. He’s a proven driver. I respect all the drivers,” said the driver of the No. 8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

“Nothing’s intentional. There were 20 laps left in the race. If that were 20 laps from the beginning of the race, no one would have talked about it.

“You watch the Fontana race, I can’t tell you how many bonehead moves were thrown. Everyone was mad at someone. It’s close racing. We can run side-by-side. Fumes are gonna occur when this happens.”

After the post-race confrontation, it turned out Karam and Carpenter had another face-to-face meeting on the flight back to Indianapolis.

“Actually we were on the same flight home together which was funny,” Karam said. “I was in the aisle seat. Ed walked by. I looked at him. He looked at me. He smiled a bit. He was joking a bit. He said, ‘I’m still mad at you by the way.’

“It’s open seating. So I say ‘I have an open seat right alongside me if you want to talk about it.’ He made a joke, ‘I gotta go back. I have three kids to take care of, I don’t need to take care of a fourth.’ It was pretty funny. I was sitting with my whole crew. It’ll be alright. Everyone starts laughing. It’s just the heat of the moment, it’s all good.”

Carpenter confirmed the story, but didn’t consider it a laughing matter.

“I was stopped right next to Sage. He looked at me. I said, ‘I’m still mad at you.’ He said, ‘I’ve got a seat in the middle.’ Then I said, ‘no, I have three kids to take care of, I don’t need a fourth.’

“I was mostly serious, at that point.”

A funnier moment both seemed to agree on was their respective inclusion in the same “Clash of Clans” clan, a game on the iPhone.

“Me and him have always been close. We’re on the iPhone app “Clash of Clans,” we’re in the same Clash of Clans clan,” Karam said.

Both interviews are well worth a listen in full, and are linked here.

Karam, who I wrote earlier today has perhaps inadvertently grown into IndyCar’s needed “black hat,” will race at the next IndyCar round at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 2, while Carpenter’s next driving appearance will come at Pocono Raceway on August 23 – a race that is right now scheduled as both drivers’ last in 2015.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”