Sage Karam had a seven-figure prize and was still looking for three more digits, a status symbol worthy of his SK$ moniker.
So he bought a phone.
Not just any cell, but one the Pennsylvania native purchased from a Southern California store. That way, when “Karam 424” flashed on the receiving end, it was a sign straight out of Beverly Hills that open-wheel’s top American prospect wants to talk.
Business is about to pick up for the 18-year-old Karam, who won the IndyCar Series’ developmental league championship and clinched P1 as Nazareth Area High School’s Most Likely to Drive in the Indianapolis 500, while still a senior in high school. The championship comes with a scholarship of up to $1 million, so you can see why SK$ works so well.
With his styled blond locks and an Instagram feed full of shirtless photos, Karam seems straight out of central casting from the 90210. But one of IndyCar’s next big stars is most at home in Nazareth, Pa., long known as the town the Andretti family put on the racing map.
“Racing in Nazareth is pretty big, just because of the Andretti name,” Karam said, “but I’m trying to build my own legacy.”
He is already on his way. From first place to 12th grade, Karam, who turns 19 on March 5, returned to his hometown this week with a “How I Spent My Summer” story that no other student could match.
Driving for Sam Schmidt Motorsports, Karam won the Indy Lights championship last weekend at Auto Club Speedway, the ultimate reward for a season built on three wins, nine podiums, two poles and 163 laps led.
“I always said, my senior year of high school, I’ll make it to the Indy 500,” he said. “The other kids kind of laughed about it. Now that it’s almost a reality, it’s no longer a joke. All those kids who laughed are like, ‘Holy crap, this kid is serious.’”