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April 29, 2014  |   By Verizon IndyCar Series

Karam To Make Indy 500 Debut With Ganassi Team

Sage Karam says being afforded the opportunity to compete in the 98th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race "is a very big day for me."

Chip Ganassi Racing Teams announced an agreement with the 2013 Indy Lights champion on a multi-year deal as a development driver, which will begin with the Indianapolis 500 through an alliance with Dreyer & Reinbold Kingdom Racing to drive in the No. 22 entry.

Karam, 19, of Nazareth, Pa., competed twice with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates this year in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring sports car races.

"I couldn't be happier to join Chip Ganassi Racing's Verizon IndyCar Series program," said Karam, a high school senior. "It is honestly a dream come true for me and my racing career. I've been very fortunate to participate in a few IMSA races for Chip with the team, and I can't wait for my first experience in the Indianapolis 500."

Karam will participate in the Rookie Orientation Program on May 5 on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. The opening day of practice is May 11 -- a day after the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the IMS road course -- and qualifications are May 17-18. The race is May 25.

Karam won the 2010 USF2000 Championship and was rookie of the year in Star Mazda in 2011. He won the Star Mazda title the next year, and is the only driver to win a races in each level of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder.

"Sage is a unique talent that we believe is a future star of the sport," Ganassi said. "Even at a young age, he has been successful at every level that he has raced at. It is nice to see his poise and tenacity on the racetrack as I think that will translate well to his driving at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 500. He reminds me of the two other recent young drivers that we have in our program, Kyle Larson and Dylan Kwasniewski."

Chip Ganassi Racing fields full-season Verizon IndyCar Series entries for reigning series champion Scott Dixon, 2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan, 2012 Indy 500 pole sitter Ryan Briscoe and Charlie Kimball.

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, which fielded Oriol Servia in the 2013 Indianapolis 500 (11th place), joined INDYCAR in 2000 and made immediate impact with Robbie Buhl winning the season-opening race at Walt Disney World Speedway from the 22nd starting position.