News & Multimedia

Karam Qualifies On Pole For Firestone Freedom 100

Competitors are quick to let Sage Karam know that over 40 laps on a 2.5-mile oval it's not so much where you qualify as where you're set up for the final sprint.

Still Karam was pleased to earn the Sunoco Pole Award for the Firestone Freedom 100 in his maiden Firestone Indy Lights oval race. The 18-year-old from Nazareth, Pa., posted a two-lap average speed of 189.243 mph (1 minute, 35.1160 seconds cumulative time).

The race will be broadcast live at noon (ET) on NBC Sports Network and on the IMS Radio Network on

Karam, driving the No. 8 Comfort Revolutions car for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian, is in his first season in the series after placing third in the Pro Mazda Championship in 2012. He has a pair of podium finishes in the three races on road/street circuits.

"It’s definitely a big confidence-booster," said Karam, who was quickest in the truncated morning practice session. "The fact that we really didn’t even work on qualifying setup, it was a big surprise. We were really just working on race setup the whole month. The rain really threw us a curveball and the crew responded really well."

It's the fifth earned pole and sixth pole start for Sam Schmidt Motorsports in the Firestone Freedom 100.

Qualifications were delayed three hours because of a persistent light rain that cut short the morning session. The 11 drivers will face a green track when they line up.

"It’s going to be a lot of strategy," Karam continued. "I know this race comes down to the last 10 laps, there’s a lot of draft here. Getting the pole is awesome but it’s really not as important as other tracks. Definitely it’s going to be strategy, it’s going to be a big mental thing, and like I said, I know we have a good race car so I’m really stoked about it."

Series championship points leader Carlos Munoz, who recorded a two-lap average of 189.276 mph, will start second in the No. 26 Dialy-Ser Andretti Autosport car. He was .0703 of a second off Karam's cumulative time over the five miles. Munoz also will start second in his maiden Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 26.

"It was totally different as I was used to the IndyCar (and) to go back to Indy Lights," said Munoz, who's won two of the three races this season. "They have a great car, and we will focus on the race. Here in Indy Lights, the qualifying is not as important as the tow in the race. Here (at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway) the race is really amusing. We had so much fun last year in that race because we were overtaking all the time. But I am going one by one. I am focusing first with Indy Lights – then I will focus on the Indy 500.”

Peter Dempsey (189.359) and Gabby Chaves (187.770) will share Row 2. St. Petersburg race winner Jack Hawksworth (187.410) and Kyle O'Gara (187.393), making his Firestone Indy Lights debut, will be on Row 3.

"We had a good run, qualified fifth, the car was pretty decent and we're pretty happy with it," Hawksworth said. "The qualifying round doesn't mean too much so we can't read too much into it. It's going to be about what happens (in the race). I was very happy with the race care the last time we ran it so I think we're in for a good race."

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Karam Qualifies On Pole For Firestone Freedom 100
Karam Qualifies On Pole For Firestone Freedom 100
Competitors are quick to let Sage Karam know that over 40 laps on a 2.5-mile oval it's not so much where you qualify as where you're set up for the final sprint.
Read More
Related Media
Michael Andretti
Ask Donald Davidson: Racking Up Top-10s at Indy, and the Lone Louisville Champion
Do you have a question for Indianapolis Motor Speedway Historian Donald Davidson? Ask via Twitter with the hashtag #AskDonald or on Facebook.
Read More
James Hinchcliffe
Hinch Gets Ready to Rumba on 'Dancing With The Stars'
Hinchcliffe is coming off a week in which he totaled the highest judges’ score – 29 out of a possible 30. But his and Burgess’ fate and that of the other eight remaining couples will be decided when the judges’ scores are combined with fan voting from last week.
Read More
Sebastien Bourdais
Bourdais and Friends Join Dale Coyne Racing for 2017
Two years of offseason uncertainty had Sebastien Bourdais yearning for team stability. Dale Coyne wanted a driver who can win to boost his Verizon IndyCar Series team’s profile.
Read More
Tony Kanaan
Kanaan, NTT Data to Return to Ganassi Team
Former series champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan and sponsor NTT DATA will return to Chip Ganassi Racing Teams as part of a multi-year deal.
Read More
Torch Relay
Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay’s Final Day Includes Stop at IMS
On the morning of Saturday, Oct. 15, before heading to downtown Indianapolis, the Torch Relay will pass through the “Racing Capital of the World.” And it will do so in a distinctly IMS way – on a two-seat IndyCar driven by former IndyCar driver and team owner Sarah Fisher.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 1,231
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at
Latest Tweets
RT @joeylogano: What a day...proud of our 22 guys making it to #RoundOf8 for 3rd yr n a row. 4 races to go! #TheChase #DegaBaby
about 22 minutes ago