Sage Karam wins IndyCar iRacing inaugural event at Watkins Glen

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VIRTUAL WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Sage Karam won the opener of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge, leading virtually start fo finish at Watkins Glen International.

Karam, who drives a partial schedule for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, started on the pole position and was hardly challenged over the 45-lap event. He yielded the lead (to Will Power) only twice on mandatory pit stops during the caution-free American Red Cross Grand Prix.

“It was nerve-wracking for sure at the end,” Karam, who missed a spin by Kyle Kaiser late in the race to keep the lead, told the IndyCar on NBC booth of Leigh Diffey, Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. “It was a lot of fun, and it’s just great we can give the fans something to watch.”

Karam led 43 of 45 laps en route to his 144th victory in 533 road-course starts on iRacing (and 165 win overall).

Felix Rosenqvist of Chip Ganassi Racing was second, followed by Will Power and Scott McLaughlin of Team Penske. Oliver Askew was fifth.

Simon Pagenaud, Josef Newgarden, Santino Ferrucci, Kyle Kirkwood and Conor Daly rounded out the top 10.

WHAT DRIVERS SAID: A roundup of the postrace reaction

Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson started 19th and finished two laps down in 16th after a head-on crash with the Armco barrier on Lap 34 (drivers were allowed two resets for damage).

Click here for the full box score from the race at Watkins Glen International.

Some well-known IndyCar drivers had early problems, and some were beyond their control.

The race started one short of its 25-driver field, and James Hinchcliffe explained why via social media (where he spent much of the race chatting with fans on Instagram).

“It was akin to having a throttle stick in pit lane,” Hinchcliffe told the IndyCar on NBC crew. “That was pretty unfortunate.”

Alexander Rossi (17th) fell multiple laps down after a crash with Marcus Ericsson on the second lap. Three of the four Team Penske drivers — Pagenaud, McLaughlin and Newgarden — were involved in a crash with Askew on the sixth lap.

Colton Herta (22nd) and Tony Kanaan (24th) both retired within the first 10 laps after going off course.

The race lost another entrant before the green flag. After a last-ditch effort to prepare his simulation rig, Robert Wickens was foiled when a steering wheel didn’t arrive at his Indianapolis home in time.

During an in-race interview on the stream, Wickens told Diffey that he hopes to be racing next week when the series heads to Barber Motorsports Park.

MotoGP champion Marc Marquez has second surgery on fractured arm

MotoGP Marc Marquez second surgery
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Defending MotoGP series champion Marc Marquez underwent a second surgery Monday after a titanium plate inserted in his fractured right arm sustained damage. The Repsol Honda Team said in a statement that it’ll be two days before the recovery period is determined.

Marquez was injured during a crash in the July 19 season opener. He underwent an initial surgery July 21 in Barcelona, and doctors said there was no nerve damage.

The eight-time champion was cleared to race in the season’s second event Jerez. But Marquez decided to skip the July 26 race after experiencing discomfort while riding the No. 93 bike in a July 25 practice.

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He had planned to race in Sunday’s grand prix at the Automotodrom Brno in the Czech Republic in hopes of returning to defend his title. His status for Sunday apparently will be unclear until at least Wednesday.

In a statement Monday, the team said the titanium plate in Marquez’s right arm successfully was replaced after stress accumulation. Marquez will stay in the hospital for two days recovering.

Dr Xavier Mir, who performed the surgery at the Hospital Universitari Dexeus, said in the release that “Marc Marquez underwent surgery 13 days ago and today he returned to the operating room. The first operation was successful, what was not expected was that the plate was insufficient. An accumulation of stress in the operated area has caused the plate to suffer some damage, so today the titanium plate has been removed and replaced by a new fixation.

“The rider has not felt pain during this period. He has always followed the medical advice given and the feeling from his body. Unfortunately, an overstress has caused this issue. Now we have to wait 48 hours to understand the recovery time.”