#Shirts4Sage campaign both humorous, brilliant at the same time

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Earlier this week, IndyCar released what might have been its most humorous video of all-time.

I’m not prone to hyperbole often, but this video makes an exception.

When I first saw “#Shirts4Sage,” I could not stop laughing.

It’s been something of a running joke in the Verizon IndyCar Series this season that Sage Karam – brash, bold, bloody fast and the emerging “black hat” of the series – posted way too many shirtless selfies.

I even wrote in that aforementioned “black hat” column:

Yes, he could afford to take fewer shirtless selfies. And yes, he could calm down on track a bit.

But as a “Paul Tracy-in-training” badass who people can either love or love to hate, Karam is perfect. And desperately needed.

IndyCar and Josef Newgarden came together to produce this brilliant, two-minute mock-umentary video and premiere the #Shirts4Sage campaign, complete with the requisite sad Sarah McLachlan song in the background.

How Newgarden kept his composure on what was likely the umpteenth take is beyond me.

Even better is how Karam’s reacted to it.

Ordinarily, when you’re the butt of a joke on social media (and I can speak from experience on this, given an inside joke about blaming me for bad weather that’s grown legs and endured over four years), you have multiple options.

You can:

  • Cry about it and try to get it removed
  • Laugh it off, but make no further mention of it
  • Embrace the whole thing, play it up, and become part of the joke yourself

And fortunately for all of us, both Karam and his dad Jody have chosen the latter option.

More hilarity, tweets and requests for Sage to wear a shirt – or not – can be found by searching the #Shirts4Sage hashtag on Twitter, or by perusing Newgarden’s feed.

The IndyCar offseason is long and devoid of much on-track action.

So when Newgarden, Karam and IndyCar come together to produce a video as brilliant and humorous as this one, we all win.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.