Karam holds off Rosenqvist to win iRacing IndyCar race

Sage Karam drives to victory
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
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).

Results

Pos SP No. Driver Car Name Laps Status
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

Lap Leaders

Laps Car Driver
1 – 16 24 Sage Karam
17 12 Power, Will
33 12 Power, Will
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

Full Replay

Leave a Reply