NTT IndyCar Series veteran Sage Karam is giving NASCAR a shot. On Monday, Jordan Anderson Racing announced Karam drive the #31 Chevrolet Camaro in his Xfinity Series début at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course‘s Pennzoil 150 on 14 August.
“It has always been a dream of mine to be able to compete at this level with some of the world’s best stock car drivers,” Karam stated in a team release. “My goal is to learn as much as possible and soak in this experience. It’s a welcomed challenge for me, and I’m looking forward to building strong relationships with the talented people of Jordan Anderson Racing.”
The 2013 Indy Lights champion, Karam has sporadically competed in IndyCar since 2014, with starts in the Indianapolis 500 coming every year; in May, he finished a career-best seventh in the prestigious event. His highest IndyCar finish is third at Iowa in 2015. In 2020, he raced three times on the Indianapolis RC with IndyCar for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. He finished twenty-third twice in the first two races and twenty-fourth in the third.
While much of Karam’s career has been in open-wheel cars, he possesses closed-wheel experience via sports cars and rallycross. In the former discipline, he finished runner-up overall in the 2014 IMSA race at the Indianapolis RC.
Crossovers between NASCAR and IndyCar are not extremely common but also not nonexistent. Fellow IndyCar mainstay Santino Ferrucci also began running Xfinity races earlier in 2021, while NASCAR’s Cody Ware débuted in IndyCar in June. Xfinity playoff contender A.J. Allmendinger, Cup Series star Kurt Busch, Cup part-timer James Davison, occasional Truck Series face Conor Daly, and NASCAR veteran J.J. Yeley all have IndyCar starts.
“With Sage’s extensive experience in road racing and open-wheel racing, along with finishing seventh in this year’s Indianapolis 500, we knew that the road course at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway would be a special place for him to make his NASCAR debut with support from Montage Mountain Resorts and so many other great partners,” JAR owner Jordan Anderson said.
“To bridge the gap between two different fields of racing is a challenge that I’m confident Sage will be able to master. We’re blessed to have some amazing drivers and people that continue to help our organisation grow, and this opportunity is another pivotal part of our long-term goal.”
Karam’s plans of dabbling in stock cars were initially brought up by his father Jody, who put out a request for sponsorship on social media after being “presented with an amazing opportunity” earlier this month. Montage Mountain Resorts, a ski resort in Scranton, Pennsylvania, answered the call and will sponsor the car.
JAR, currently in its first Xfinity season, has fielded the #31 for Anderson, Tyler Reddick, Josh Berry, and Kaz Grala. Reddick holds the car’s best finish of fifth at Charlotte in May, and the #31 sits thirty-second in owner points after missing much of the season.
The Pennzoil 150 is part of an IndyCar/NASCAR joint weekend on the Indy RC with IndyCar’s Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix also taking place on Saturday, 14 August. Sunday will see the Cup Series’ Verizon 200.