Sage Karam tries to repeat iRacing Success at Barber

Sage Karam
WATKINS GLEN, NEW YORK - MARCH 28: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) (Editors note: This image was computer generated in-game) Sage Karam, driver of the #24 Wix Filters Dreyer & Reinbold Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the IndyCar iRacing Challenge American Red Cross Grand Prix at virtual Watkins Glen International on March 28, 2020 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

A week ago in the NTT Data IndyCar Series’ first iRacing event of the COVID-19 crisis,¬†Sage Karam¬†was far and away the class of the field.

He’ll try and replicate that success in the second online race for the series, with this one being televised.

Sage Karam tries to repeat iRacing Success at Barber

The IndyCar iRacing series will run this week at Barber Motorsports Park, with all eyes on Karam.

“When I was a kid, one of my dreams was to be interviewed on ESPN ‘SportsCenter’ after winning a big race,” Karam said. “Last Saturday, I was on the 11 p.m. ESPN ‘SportsCenter’ talking with John Anderson after winning the iRacing race. I always thought it would be after a regular INDYCAR race, not from iRacing.”

iRacing has been picking up steam as of late, due to the lack of live sports and live racing on television during the crisis.

NASCAR was the first to put a race involving drivers from its top series less than two weeks ago at Homestead on FOX. NBCSN has since joined with IndyCar on Saturday and a modified, NASCAR series to run next week.

The racing is the closest thing to normalcy that fans will be getting during the period, and while it feels close to real on TV, according to drivers, it feels pretty real, too.

“I was pretty worn out after Saturday’s race,” Karam said. “It was very mentally draining. In iRacing, we don’t have the fear factor of crashing or wrecking the car. But you are racing on the edge with proper steering and pedal pressure as in an Indy car, and you are racing wheel-to-wheel in a competition.”

For the time being, it’s all in good fun.

Although, the competitiveness has shined in these drivers as the spotlight grows on iRacing and motorsports on television.

“I discovered iRacing quite a while back, and I truly believe it has helped me with my racing career,” Karam said. “I was more nervous before the Glen race than at the Indy 500. I paced the house for six hours before the race.”

It can never replace the real thing, but the racing simulator has been the saving grace to a low period.

The drivers, officials, and fans have all come together to make this experiment a gigantic success.

“This current pandemic has caused the world to really turn upside-down,” Karam said. “And we are doing this racing for our fans, too. With nothing happening in sports, it is a fun way for them to watch INDYCAR racing in a different form. The Barber track isn’t one of my favorites, but I’ll be ready on Saturday.”

The 45-lap race will be televised live on NBCSN and is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. ET. We will have live updates on Twitter at @RacingVault.

IndyCar iRacing Barber MP Entry List
1 | Josef Newgarden (Team Penske)
2 | Scott McLaughlin (Team Penske)
4 | Sebastien Bourdais (A.J. Foyt Enterprises)
5 | Pato O’Ward (Arrow McLaren SP)
6 | Robert Wickens (Arrow McLaren SP)
7 | Oliver Askew (Arrow McLaren SP)
8 | Marcus Ericsson (Chip Ganassi Racing)
9 | Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing)
10 | Felix Rosenqvist (Chip Ganassi Racing)
11 | Kyle Kaiser (Juncos Racing)
12 | Will Power (Team Penske)
14 | Tony Kanaan (A.J. Foyt Enterprises)
15 | Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Racing)
18 | Santino Ferrucci (Dale Coyne Racing)
20 | Conor Daly (Ed Carpenter Racing)
21 | Ed Carpenter (Ed Carpenter Racing)
22 | Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske)
24 | Sage Karam (Dreyer & Reinbold Racing)
26 | Zach Veach (Andretti Autosport)
27 | Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport)
28 | Kyle Kirkwood (Andretti Autosport)
29 | James Hinchcliffe (Andretti Autosport)
41 | Dalton Kellett (A.J. Foyt Enterprises)
48 | Jimmie Johnson (IiC Provisional)
55 | Alex Palou (Dale Coyne Racing)
59 | Felipe Nasr (Carlin)
60 | Jack Harvey (Meyer Shank Racing)
88 | Colton Herta (Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport)
98 | Scott Speed (Andretti Herta w/ Marco Andretti & Curb-Agajanian)

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