DrivenSCROLL to experience Sage's story.
IndyCar® (and teen) driver Sage Karam knows it takes hard work, focus and smart decisions to succeed behind the wheel.
Sage started racing go-karts at just four years old and has won on every major racing circuit in the United States since then.
In spite of all that time behind the wheel, he took lessons to help earn his learner's permit and driver's license.
As a rookie driver for Chip Ganassi Racing Team at the 2014 Indy 500, he started near the back of the pack (31st) and finished 9th. That's an amazing performance for any driver at any age, but especially for one who was still in high school.
From the very beginning, Sage Karam understood the thrill of the open road, the joy of getting where you want to go and the importance of doing it safely.
This is his story: Driven, focused and filled with Sage advice.
Teamwork.Track of dreams.
A Father’s Commitment
When he was a kid, Sage Karam had his own field of dreams. His father, Jody, bought a plot of land in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, and it became his first racetrack.
“How It All Started”Watch video ►
Ups And Downs
From that little dirt track in Nazareth, Team Karam has had plenty of ups and downs — especially when time, money and patience almost ran out.
“Never Give Up”Watch video ►
Although it can feel that way, driving isn't really a solo act. There are things all around you that are part of every successful journey.
And successful journeys are what teamwork is all about. Sticking together, staying focused and celebrating the drive.
“Flawless Teamwork”Watch video ►
Tuning Out Distractions
Not only did Sage make flawless pit stops during the Indy 500, his team nearly won the pit stop competition — a high-octane match of skill for pit crew bragging rights leading up to race day.
It was a great showing for a young team and further proof of Sage’s skill at tuning out distractions — a skill he carries over to street driving every day.
“Amazing”Watch video ►
Buckle down and drive.Sage advice.
Cool Under Pressure
Having a son who’s a professional racecar driver makes that whole teen driving thing a piece of cake for parents … right? Not so much.
Like any other parent, Jody Karam wants his kids to be safe behind the wheel — whether at the track or on the street — and he knows that everyday street driving can be unpredictable and dangerous too.
Jody is a tough parent who taught Sage and his younger sister that they deserve what they earn. Whether learning to drive or any goal in life, they must earn the right to succeed and reach their dreams.
Sage’s sister, Sydnee, is a year younger. Their dad admits he was much more comfortable putting Sage behind the wheel of his first street car than his daughter.
But there was no special treatment for Sage when it came to learning to drive.
“It’s even more important that he had a clear understanding of what the rules were on the streets.”
“As controlled as he is on the track and the maturity he shows on the track ... I also see the other side of Sage — the exciting teenager.”
“Respect”Watch video ►
You’d think a kid who’d been behind the wheel for so many years would be a driving test slam dunk.
A last-minute change of plans put Sage in his mom’s car for his test, a car he hadn’t practiced in, and he was just as stressed (and excited) as any kid taking that test.
“I Almost Failed”Watch video ►
A Good Reminder
Almost failing his learner’s permit test was a good reminder that the racetrack and the street aren’t the same. No know-it-all attitude here. Sage respects the rules of the road and understands the dangers if you don’t.
“Rules of the Road”Watch video ►
Teens and Parents: Who Thinks What?
We surveyed parents and teens about graduated driver licensing (GDL). Here’s some of what we learned:
Teens say their parents have fewer conversations with them about driving than parents say they do.
Teen drivers seem to underestimate the dangers of passenger distractions and nighttime driving.
Teen drivers obey graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws less than their parents think they do.
Parents and teens both seem to understand the dangers of cellphone use and driving, but may have less of an understanding of the dangers of passenger distractions and nighttime driving.
Keep it in gear.Focus. Perform. Win.
Right Move, Right Time
Sage Karam started racing go-karts when he was just four years old. People told him he was mature beyond his years.
Even at a very young age, Sage understood what it meant to be focused; to have a strategy.
He knew when to hold back and when to make his move. He learned how to do the right thing at the right time. Without distractions.
And he’s a winner because of it.
“Clear Mind”Watch video ►
“Distractions”Watch video ►
Awesome multitasker? Yeah, right.
The science of the cluttered mind is crystal clear. Multitasking is a myth. We can't drive, eat, text, talk and change our tunes at the same time. In reality, we're serial tasking — quickly shifting between things and not doing any of them very well. Just sayin'.
More insights for you info-geeks here.
State Farm® Claims Data 2013
Morning and after-school hours tend to be the busiest crash times for teens.
U.S. and Canada
Get the app and drive smarter.
Dream Come True
As a rookie driver at the 2014 Indianapolis 500, Sage started near the back of the pack (31st) and drove his way to a 9th place finish. It was a childhood dream come true and a very long way from that little dirt track in Nazareth, PA.
“It's Not Impossible”Watch video ►
Sage’s rookie run was earned through hard work, focus and smart decisions. It blew away perceptions of what a teen driver could do.
“Put to the Test”Watch video ►
It was a great finish for a teen driver and further proof of Sage’s skill at tuning out distractions — a skill he carries over to street driving every day.
For his dad, it was a surreal experience to see all those people reach through the fence to touch his son. All those years of practice and focus and teaching your kid to do the right thing came full circle at Indy.
Jody Karam was reminded (again) that “ … one of the most beautiful and responsible things you can do is be a good parent.”
“A Great Moment”Watch video ►
Think it through.Every choice matters.
On And Off The Track
When Sage is home in Pennsylvania, he drives a pretty decent “tuner” car with some upgrades.
Every now and then, some hometown kid wants to make a bet and race him.
“I’m like, ‘No, man, it’s not worth it. What’s the reward for such risk? What happens if you crash? If you want to race me, we can rent out the track and I’ll be more than happy to race you.’”
Sage knows the challenge will stop right there.
That level head serves him well and is powered by his passion for doing the right things on and off the track.
It’s the Karam way.
“I would never drive a racecar without my seat belts on … so why would you drive a street car without your seat belt?”
“Know the Limits”Watch video ►
According to Dr. Jarrod Spencer’s book, “The Sky is Not the Limit: Discovering Your True North,” Sage found his niche early in life. When Sage was in Colorado for an Operation Smile convention in 2010, he told people how important it was to “ … find that thing that you love and that you’re really good at.”
Sage should know. He loves driving and he’s really good at it.
And he’s touching lives with every lap.
“There’s a kid who can really make a difference in society. I think that’s more important than winning a big race.”