Sage Karam returns to wrestling roots while restless wait to drive continues

(Getty Images)

Instead of wrestling an IndyCar through a turn at over 200 mph, Sage Karam has spent the last few months wrestling with head locks, falls and pins.

While waiting to get back in a race car, Karam has been working with his father, Jody, as an assistant wrestling coach at Liberty (Pa.) High School.

It’s been a heck of a ride for father and son Karam. Jody helped lead Andrew Gunning to an undefeated 42-0 record and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association’s 3A title at 285 pounds, earning Liberty’s first wrestling championship title in 31 years (last being in 1985).

The elder Karam just wrapped up his 23rd season as Liberty’s head wrestling coach. Sitting next to him on the bench was Sage.

Dad didn’t cut son any slack, according to a story by Mark Wogenrich in The Morning Call of Allentown, Pennsylvania. Sage had to lead early morning workouts, sparred with wrestlers during training sessions and, as Wogenrich put it, “occasionally worked the nerves of both officials and his father.”

Karam will be back behind the wheel soon enough, driving for the Lexus team in the Weather Tech SportsCar Championship, as well as the Indianapolis 500 just over two months from now.

But returning to the world of grappling, falls, flips and tap outs helped energize Karam.

“The guys were making me laugh,” Sage Karam told Wogenrich. “I wasn’t laughing when I was by myself or at home, but when I got in the wrestling room, I was able to sweat a little bit, bleed a little bit and laugh a little bit with them. They got my mind in a different place instead of the dark side.”

Karam still deals with the dark side, namely last year’s IndyCar race at Pocono, where debris from his wrecked car flew into the car of fellow driver Justin Wilson.

Wilson died the next day from his injuries.

Karam admitted he went through “a really, really tough time” for several months after the tragedy. Sensing a change would do his son good, Jody Karam asked Sage to come home to help out with the same team he used to wrestle for himself during his high school days.

The elder Karam felt it would be good therapy for his son, who could continue his offseason racing training regimen at the same time.

“After the accident at Pocono, I felt that Sage didn’t need to sit in Indy by himself,” Jody Karam told The Morning Call. “The best way to overcome that was to give back, and he’s been giving back to our program ever since.”

Added Sage Karam, “Obviously, racing is my first love. If it were up to me, I’d be in a race car every single day of my life. But wrestling is my second love, and hanging out with my dad, there’s nothing better than that.”

Click here to read Wogenrich’s full story on father and son Karam.

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IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
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The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:

Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change