|Sage Karam drives to victory|
With 36,000 fans in attendance, Dreyer and Reinbold #24 Wix Filters driver Sage Karam from Nazareth, PA. battled Ganassi NTT Data #10 driver Felix Rosenqvist all race long but held on to win the iRacing IndyCar race at Watkins Glen Saturday.
The race is the first of 6 races scheduled to fill the gap due to the Coronavirus postponing the start of the real IndyCar season.
Penske drivers Will Power and Scott McLaughlin were 3rd and 4th while Ganassi Racing rookie Oliver Askew rounded out the top-5.
Karam started from pole and led every lap (except for pit stops) with Rosenqvist always within 2 to 3 seconds back.
Karam, a serious SIM racer, always managed to open the gap back out to 3 seconds whenever the Swede would start to close up.
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Karam’s victory was his first in INDYCAR – virtual or otherwise. The champion of the 2013 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires season has made only 19 actual NTT starts over six seasons, scoring a career-best third at Iowa Speedway in 2015.
“It was nerve-wracking there at the end, for sure," he said in reference to a late-race near-miss with Indy Pro 2000 champion Kyle Kirkwood, who was subbing for Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay in the No. 28 DHL Honda. “That was a little too close for comfort (in Turn 10), a (scary) moment. I didn’t know which way he was going to go when he started to spin, so I had to quick rely on some instincts and picked ‘left’ and thankfully it was the right choice."
Karam, one of the most experienced iRacing drivers in this field, applauded his competitors for investing the necessary practice time this week to make the inaugural online show entertaining for the fans.
“It was a lot of fun, and it was great that we could give the fans something to watch," he said. “It’s the only sport that (the world) can really do right now."
The virtual event featured most of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers expecting to be in the midst of the actual season had the pandemic not occurred. The upside of being able to stage such an event: It allowed seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and two-time Virgin Australia Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin to participate.
|Karam leads Rosenqvist|
McLaughlin is hoping to drive Team Penske’s No. 2 Shell V-Power Chevrolet for real this season; he finished fourth in his online debut. Rookie Oliver Askew (No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP) finished fifth.
Johnson, who has eyes on INDYCAR road racing in the future, started ninth and ran well in his first INDYCAR attempt despite having a couple of incidents. He was collected in the first-lap accident that included Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi (No. 27 AutoNation/NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda), among others. Then on Lap 34, Johnson’s car drifted wide exiting the track’s famed “bus stop" section and hit the outside wall. He finished 16th.
The second of six events will be held Saturday, April 4 on the Barber Motorsports Park circuit. The event will be held at 4 p.m. ET and streamed through INDYCAR.com while INDYCAR’s YouTube and Facebook platforms as well as iRacing’s Twitch will serve as additional outlets for viewing.
Future events will be held weekly each Saturday through May 2 at the following sites: a “Driver’s Choice" track (April 11), a “Random Draw" track (April 18), Circuit of The Americas (April 25) and a non-INDYCAR “Dream" track (May 2).
|1||1||24||Sage Karam||DRR Wix Filters Chevrolet||45||Running|
|2||2||10||Felix Rosenqvist||NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda||45||Running|
|3||3||12||Will Power||Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet||45||Running|
|4||7||2||Scott McLaughlin||Shell V-Power Team Penske Chevrolet||45||Running|
|5||5||7||Oliver Askew||Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet||45||Running|
|6||8||22||Simon Pagenaud||Menards Team Penske Chevrolet||45||Running|
|7||9||1||Josef Newgarden||Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet||45||Running|
|8||21||18||Santino Ferrucci||SealMaster Honda||44||Running|
|9||11||28||Kyle Kirkwood||DHL Honda||44||Running|
|10||23||20||Conor Daly||U.S. Air Force Chevrolet||44||Running|
|11||17||41||Dalton Kellett||K-Line Insulators Chevrolet||44||Running|
|12||16||11||Kyle Kaiser||Juncos RacingChevrolet||44||Running|
|13||18||5||Pato O'Ward||Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet||43||Running|
|14||12||15||Graham Rahal||United Rentals Honda||43||Running|
|15||14||59||Felipe Nasr||Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet||43||Running|
|16||19||48||Jimmie Johnson||Jimmie Johnson Racing Chevrolet||43||Running|
|17||10||27||Alexander Rossi||AutoNation / NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda||42||Running|
|18||15||8||Marcus Ericsson||Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda||40||Running|
|19||24||26||Zach Veach||Gainbridge Honda||40||Running|
|20||6||55||Alex Palou||Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda||37||Off Course|
|21||4||98||Scott Speed||U.S. Concrete / Curb Honda||21||Off Course|
|22||22||88||Colton Herta||Capstone Honda||10||Off Course|
|23||13||4||Sebastien Bourdais||Tresiba Chevrolet||8||Off Course|
|24||20||14||Tony Kanaan||ABC Supply Chevrolet||2||Off Course|
|25||25||29||James Hinchcliffe||Genesys Honda||0||Did Not Start|
|1 – 16||24||Sage Karam|
|34 – 45||24||Sage Karam|
Time of Race: 01:05:50.3717
Avg Speed: 138.200 mph
Margin of Victory: 3.6174 seconds
Lead Changes: 4
Caution Laps: 0