D&R - Karam Leads Final Practice
KARAM, WIX FILTERS/DRR CHEVY LEAD FINAL INDY 500 PRACTICE WITH0 226.421 LAP;
HILDEBRAND, SALESFORCE/DRR CHEVY CLOCKS SOLID LAPS IN 102ND INDY 500 PREP
DRR Boys Strong in Practice Monday; Now Head to Philly, Denver Tuesday for Media Days
Speedway, IN (May 21, 2018)- Sage Karam stole the show during Monday afternoon’s practice as he had finished with the top speed of the day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway ahead of this weekend’s 102nd Indianapolis 500.
Karam, the Nazareth, Pa., driver in the No. 24 WIX Filters/DRR Chevrolet car, recorded the day’s top speed of 226.421 miles per hour. The 23-year-old veteran qualified for his fifth Indy 500 last weekend in the 24th position.
Going back to race setup along with making additional changes, Karam and his team ran 71 laps Monday with the top overall speed of the afternoon practice round.
"I ended up P1, which is cool and all,” said Karam. “It doesn't really mean too much though. We did some good work today for the race. The main goal for today was to work on the race car and work on pit stops. I haven't done pit stops since last May. We got those done and did some traffic runs to make the car better. I’m pleased with the progress from today’s runs. Carb Day is usually just for checking system, so today’s practice was important for our WIX Filters/DRR team.”
“I think the car is good. We always have a really good race car here. I was able to run with the 'fast guys' and ran with them steadily. This race will be very challenging and probably the most challenging in my five years here.”
Karam’s teammate, J.R. Hildebrand, the Boulder, Colo., veteran in the No. 66 Salesforce/DRR Chevrolet, worked well with his crew Monday and was pleased with the car’s handling after 93 laps. Hildebrand’s best lap was 223.244 m.p.h.
“I feel like we had some nice runs out there today,” said Hildebrand, making his eighth Indy 500 start this Sunday. “That made me feel more confident that we can race our way through the field a bit on Sunday, which is obviously important regardless of where we qualified.”
“I think overall we ran a lot of laps today and were able to collect a lot of information and we tried a bunch of stuff. I feel pretty confident that we will be able to dig into what we did today and make some gains for Friday’s Carb Day.”
Karam and Hildebrand now travel Monday night to their respective cities for the annual Indy 500 Media Day. Sage will attend various interviews near his Nazareth home in Philadelphia Tuesday. J.R. travels near his Colorado home with a tour of the Denver media Tuesday.
The DRR drivers will then return to Indianapolis for the annual Wednesday “Community Day” with the IPS schools. The final one-hour practice on Friday’s Miller Lite Carb Day is scheduled for 11 a.m. followed by the annual Pit Stop Championships.
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Tom has been a contributor to RIS since 1992. He was invited to join the staff as a full-time reporter/editor in 1995, and has covered IndyCar, Formula 1, NASCAR, Grand-Am, ALMS and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In addition to his RIS work, Tom has been a contributor for General Motors, Nissan, Toyota and the ACO.