15-year-old Sage Karam of Nazareth, Pa., clinched the driver championship in the Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda" Thursday afternoon at Road Atlanta, when he led all 19 laps in his Andretti Autosport No. 8 Van Diemen Mazda. To make the day even better for his Indianapolis-based team, his teammate, 15-year-old Zach Veach of Stockdale, Ohio, finished second.
Thursday morning, Karam earned his 10th Cooper Tires Pole Award of the year with an automatic new track record of 1:26.856 (105.278mph) on a wet track. He also set the fastest lap of Thursday's race with a 1:22.650 (110.635mph), which gives him another pole for the season finale here Friday.
"I'm so happy and honored to have won the championship," said Karam. "We started out the week on a rough note with a little incident on Tuesday, but it really can't get better than this. I want to thank everybody: Michael Andretti, the Michael Fux Foundation, Comfort Revolution, Mazda, Cooper Tires, the Road to Indy program and my awesome crew. I can't thank Andretti Autosport enough for the opportunity to race this season, and I hope I can make them proud again tomorrow morning.
"Winning this championship is a great honor. I really have to thank Michael Fux. We got together when I was 13 when I didn't have enough money to go racing, and he has been a huge help.
Mazda plans to offer live video streaming of the awards ceremony on Friday night when the Star Mazda, USF2000 and Skip Barber National champions are honored at the Chateau Elan Inn in Braselton. The Internet address is http://www.justin.tv/a/mazdausa and the coverage is slated to begin at 7:30 p.m. E.T.