IndyCar: Carpenter and Rahal rip ‘careless’ Karam after Iowa race
NEWTON, Iowa — Sage Karam had just scored the highest finish of his career with a third in Saturday night’s Iowa Corn 300, and it seemed every other driver in the field wanted a piece of the 20-year-old driver from Nazareth, Pennsylvania.
Ed Carpenter was furious with Karam, believing the rookie driver raced him dangerously and was darting up the track, getting way too close to the veteran driver in the closing stages of the race. Carpenter screamed on his radio, asking why IndyCar officials were not penalizing Karam and if they didn’t, he would do it himself after the race.
Carpenter was true to his words because as Karam’s third-place car was on pit road, Carpenter walked up to him and gave him a stern lecture. Karam sat and listened without giving a response, realizing it was in neither driver’s best interests to escalate the conversation to a physical altercation.
Fourth-place finisher Graham Rahal was also furious with Karam and decided he would let Carpenter carry the torch on that argument.
"He’s just angry at my driving," Karam said. "He says I squeezed him a few times but it’s the same way he drove me. It’s hard racing. I’m going for wins and that’s how we’re driving. It’s close racing. It’s IndyCar racing. This ain’t go-karts or anything anymore. We’re going to race each other hard and we’re professionals and we know each other’s limits.
"Tough luck for him."
Carpenter was still fuming after his talk with Karam.
"I mean Sage, you know I kept both of us from crashing and taking us from at least a top four until that, and IndyCar just lets him do whatever he wants," Carpenter said. "He’s Sage Karam, he’s had his ass kissed from the day he was born, and he does whatever he wants… no respect."
Karam called it the most physical race of his career, and with the bumpiness on the bottom groove of the race track, it was difficult to keep his car on the low lane. He also wasn’t going to let the opportunity for a podium finish slip away and when Carpenter was side-by-side with him, Karam believes he was trying to keep it under control.
"This track is rough and very bumpy," Karam said. "I’m going for position and if I get squeezed to the bottom it’s bumpy down there and they know I’m going to drift up. Ed is professional; Graham is professional – they know how to drive and I know how to drive. I was surprised they said something to me because they race me the same way. For Ed to be that mad, I don’t understand it. Ed swerved into me down the straightaway. Graham puts people in the wall all the time.
"I’m not here to complain about them or how they drove – I’m here to be thankful and happy I got my first IndyCar podium and momentum is on the No. 8 Chip Ganassi Racing side right now."
Rahal also had some strong words about the 20-year-old Karam.
"I ripped his ass, too," Rahal said. "We can’t drive like that. The kid doesn’t respect anybody out there. He thinks he is better than everybody already and he is going to hurt somebody if he is driving like that. Ed looked calm compared to the way I thought he would be.
"Sage has got a reputation for being that sort of driver and when you get up to the big leagues, you need to be a little bit smarter. I think Ed hit the wall three or four times, I mean literally. I lifted both times on two different straightaways because I thought they were both in the fence.
"Honestly, just careless driving, absolutely careless driving. And until the series penalizes him, they aren’t going to care. Earlier in the race he did the same thing to me, I almost hit the fence right here (pointing at the front straight) just squeezing me right up and I reported it. Until they make a penalty out of it he’ll keep doing it. And that doesn’t take away from him. Congrats to him, first podium, that’s a cool thing. But he could still be on the podium and be safe."
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