INDIANAPOLIS — Sage Karam made history June 15 at The Milwaukee Mile.
When Karam wheeled his Schmidt-Peterson entry to victory in the Firestone Indy Lights event at the historic one-mile oval, he became the first driver to win at all three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system — USF2000 Championship, Pro Mazda Championship and Indy Lights.
“It’s definitely a good feeling knowing we could be successful in all the cars in the Mazda Road to Indy. It’s good to know we were getting the wins early in each series,” Karam said. “I’m sure that some IndyCar team owners taking notice of stuff like that. Hopefully we can get a ride going in IndyCar next year. I think the Mazda Road to Indy prepares young drivers in a very good way. I’ve learned everything just in those cars starting in the USF2000. That was a great car to learn in.
“Then we moved up to Pro Mazda. I didn’t win the championship but won some races, and had some bad luck with mechanical failures. All these cars teach a driver the basics of an open-wheel car. Now we’re in the Indy Lights. Hopefully this is going to transition into IndyCar.”
It is just the latest crowning moment in Karam’s racing career.
“There were actually two points in my life. There was one time when I couldn’t break the top 10 in karting. I think I was about 8 years old,” he explained. “My parents aren’t the wealthiest, so I didn’t have a lot of money to be doing the whole racing deal. It almost was like, ‘This isn’t the right thing for me. I don’t think I’m going to be a race car driver. It’s pretty much going to be over unless something dramatic changes.’
“My dad said, ‘We’re going to give it one more try.’ He said, ‘If you don’t win, we’re done racing.’ Kind of a lot of pressure,” Karam continued. “I haven’t gotten in the top 10 before since then. I went into the race and I won Saturday and I won Sunday. It was huge. It was in the Stars of Karting event. Those are two parts of my life when racing almost ended. At that moment I realized, ‘Hey, there’s a reason that I won out of nowhere. From there on, it’s almost like going back to that confidence. I knew I could win. That’s when we started winning championships and knew that this is what I could do.”