After his head-turning debut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Road Course, Nazareth, Pennsylvania’s Sage Karam is back for more with Jordan Anderson Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series), adding three races to his schedule for the 2021 season.
Karam will return to the Xfinity Series in an additional two events this season, piloting the No. 31 Chevrolet Camaro at Bristol Motor Speedway (Sept 17) and Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Roval (Oct 9). Throwing a little bit of spice into his NASCAR plans for 2021, Karam will then make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut in the penultimate event of the season at Martinsville Speedway (Oct 30), piloting the No. 3 Chevrolet Silverado.
Montage Mountain – who sponsored the No. 31 at Indy’s Road Course and is based out of Lehigh Valley, PA — will continue to back Karam in his three additional races this season, as the IndyCar driver continues to support and represent his local area partners.
Welcome back @SageKaram 👊🏼
Looking forward to having Sage behind the wheel of the 31 Camaro at @BMSupdates and @CLTMotorSpdwy later this year along with making his @NASCAR_Trucks debut at @MartinsvilleSwy in the 3. pic.twitter.com/kxg04Vls0G
— Jordan Anderson (@j66anderson) September 10, 2021
The decision by Karam to make his second start at Bristol – a track, or track type for that matter, that he’s never raced on before — is an interesting one, even more so after electing to contest his other two starts this season on road courses, especially a track he’s comfortable on in Indy’s Road Course.
So, who did Karam decide to have it all play out this way?
“I think Bristol is just an amazing event,” Karam told TobyChristie.com prior to his debut at Indy. “I think every driver wants to get the chance to drive around Bristol, and my thinking about it was, obviously this is completely new world for me, and something I need to learn so much about. Bristol in itself is going to be a whole learning experience for me.”
When it comes to competing in NASCAR, ‘learning’ is still the name of the game for Karam, who prior to practice at Indianpolis, didn’t have a single lap in a NASCAR Xfinity Series car. The eight-time Indianapolis 500 starter was able to post the 12th-fastest time in that practice session, ahead of playoff bound drivers Justin Allgaier, Daniel Hemric and Harrison Burton.
That statement run in practice was on a road course, a type of racing that Karam has mastered throughout his racing career, through series such as IndyCar, Indy Lights and IMSA. However, as the NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Bristol – a 0.533-mile short track nicknamed “The Last Great Colosseum” — there surely aren’t many similarities in the style of racing, right?
Not so fast there buckaroo, Karam drew some interesting similarities:
“I think what I liked about it, is that it’s a really, really, short oval, and you really have to drive the car, almost more like a road course, because you’re hard on the brakes and you’re putting a lot of wheel into it,” Karam said. “Whereas a track like a superspeedway, I think I would be comfortable on there, but I don’t know all of those little tricks yet, like side-drafting and stuff, so I feel like I would rather go into a track like Bristol and learn as much as I can.”
The 26-year-old’s impressive run on debut at Indy isn’t shown by looking at the finish of 26th, which was his lowest running position all race. Starting 18th, Karam moved forward, using a strategy call and impressive defense to score stage points. Being shuffled back, Karam was then able to rebound, running 27 laps inside the top-15, before electrical issues brought the No. 31 to the garage.
“The expectation won’t be high either,” said Karam of his outlook for Bristol. “It’s just going to be, do as many laps as you can, learn as much as you can, and bring the car home in the best result you possibly car. I just think it would be a really good learning experience for me going forward.”