Sage Karam's budding career received a shot of confidence with a fifth-place finish in the MAVTV 500. Underneath the best result through nine Verizon IndyCar Series races for the 20-year-old from Nazareth, Pa., was the realization that he could run up front in Chip Ganassi Racing Teams' No. 8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet.
Karam showed it by leading his first career laps (five) early in the 250-lap race.
"I think everyone in the field thought they could win at some point. It was fun running up front," said Karam, the 2013 Indy Lights champion. "The Comfort Rev/Big Machine car was fast all day and I led my first laps in the Verizon IndyCar Series, got my first top five. After a rough season, that's what I needed right there and that's some confidence for me that I'm going to put in my bag and take forward."
Gabby Chaves, whose car was plagued with radio issues at the start that forced a lengthy pit stop for repairs, finished 20th in the race but maintains the lead in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings with 178 points, ahead of Stefano Coletti of KV Racing Technology (140) and Karam (126).
"Unfortunately, we had a radio issue when the race started and I could not hear anyone," said Chaves, driver of the No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins/Curb Honda for Bryan Herta Autosport. "By the rules, especially on an oval, you have to have communications working. It took us 16 laps to track down and resolve the problem. We had a strong car, but just did the 'good sportsman' thing and stayed out of everyone's way. So, we just ran all day and got some valuable experience."