Rookie SAGE KARAM/Schmidt Peterson c/w Curb-Agajanian has the pole for Friday’s Firestone Indy Lights Series Firestone Freedom 100 Race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His lap of 189.243 was a bit less than his top practice lap earlier this morning. This was his first pole position in just four races.
Sitting beside Karom on the front row is points leader, CARLOS MUNOZ/Andretti Autosport. Munoz is also starting Sunday’s 97th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race from the second starting position…as an Izod IndyCar/Indy 500 Rookie.
Karom said his goal “It’s a big confidence booster to be racing along side Carlos. My goal is to chase down Carlos and pick up my first win. It has been my dream since I was four years old and coming here.” Karom said his car was trimmed out more during the long delay. “The rain washed away some grip.”
Munoz said racing Friday on Carb Day “will be fun, even though I’m still uncomfortable in the car.” Munoz missed his time at the Indy 500 Media Bull Pen as he was on track for Indy Lights. He compared the IndyCar to the Lights car – “They’re different. I learned a lot from IndyCar to take back to Lights, and the other way around. It’s been helpful.”
When asked if he was nervous about Sunday, Munoz laughed and said “I’ll tell you on Sunday. Right now I have a race Friday.”
As a young kid growing up in Colombia, Munoz said he never had idols, but there were drivers he admired, such as JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, who, as a Rookie, won the 2000 Indy 500, Monza Formula One 2001, and the 1999 CART championship. JPM is one of only two drivers to win the Indy 500 as a Rookie.
The appointed hour for Lights qualifying came and went Thursday at 1:15 pm ET. The teams were in place, hopeful of getting in some laps. By 1:30 pm it was still moist on the track, so the teams slowly pushed their way back to the Lights garage. At that point the estimate was for another hour to dry the track with roving vehicles, and rain due in thirty minutes. On cue, the rains came, as predicted.
When Qualifying is not held, the starting grid is set based on Entrant points. However, after a three-hour delay, the Indy Lights cars got on course, single car qualifying, with the order determined by a Qualifying Draw.
FREEDOM 100 STARTING GRID
1. *Sage KARAM/Schmidt Peterson c/w Curb-Agajanian
2. Carlos MUNOZ/Andretti Autosport
3. Peter Dempsey/Belardi Auto Racing
4. *Gaby CHAVES/Schmidt Peterson c/w Curb-Agajanian
5. *Jack HAWKSWORTH/Schmidt Peterson c/w Curb-Agajanian
6. *Kyle O’GARA/Schmidt Peterson c/w Curb-Agajanian
7. *Zach VEACH/Andretti Autosport
8. Juan Pablo GARCIA/Team Moore Racing
9. Austin CHASE/JMM/BHA with Curb-Agajanian
10. Jorge GONCALVEZ/Belardi Auto Racing
11. *Jimmy SIMPSON/Team Moore Racing