The field for the 2013 Firestone Indy Lights season is very small. But the small field of drivers are all very talented. Among them, two rising stars. American Sage Karam and Colombian Carlos Munoz. These two gems are the cream of the crop.
Now when I say Karam vs Munoz, I do not imply that there is a bitter off track rivalry with a war of words and a hostile relationship. In fact, it's far from that, unless we are all missing something... When I say Karam vs Munoz, I am talking about a great, clean, and competitive on track battle for the title. The current championship battle is a tight one heading into their next race at Toronto. Following two consecutive wins at Milwaukee and Iowa, and a second place finish at Pocono, Sage Karam's 281 points puts him in second place in the championship. Carlos Munoz, winner at Barber, Long Beach, and Pocono, leads Karam by four points for the title.
|Carlos Munoz leading Sage Karam at IMS (Photo: Don Figler)|
Now, there are five rounds left in the Indy Lights season, but I can't help but turn an eye for the future and wonder how these two will do in Indycar. Carlos Munoz is well affiliated with Andretti Autosport, and a deal with them seems reasonable, but would they replace someone on their current lineup or add a fifth car? A deal may be in the works for other teams. Three time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves was talking about Munoz recently, saying, "Carlos raced at the Indy 500 this year, not because Andretti had a great car, but because he's aggressive, mature, and could race 500 miles."
Sage Karam's situation becomes a bit trickier. Winning the championship and getting that scholarship money would really go far to getting Sage a deal somewhere. Sage currently drives for Schmidt Peterson Racing and owner Sam Schmidt. Sam Schmidt fields two cars in Indycar, driven by Simon Pagenaud and Tristan Vautier. The chances of Sage replacing Simon is 0% unless Simon goes elsewhere, which doesn't seem like it will happen. And not giving Tristan Vautier a second year to prove himself would be a mistake.
|Sage Karam (left) and Carlos Munoz (right) at a press conference at IMS (Photo: IMS)|
So what are Sage's options? I'm sure some teams are looking into taking him. I'm feeling like a seat at Bryan Herta Autosport might open up in the offseason, and Sage seems like a great fit. And, given he has the sponsorship, could Chip Ganassi bring back his fourth car that was decommissioned this year as a fulltime car? Everytime I check Twitter, I see Sage picking up a new sponsor. Fans love him and he performs on the track. I don't see him not getting a ride.
I think both of these drivers are utterly brilliant. Sage Karam is statistically the most successful driver in Mazda Road to Indy history. And Carlos Munoz is a fearless driver who dazzled everyone in his first and only Indycar race at this year's Indianapolis 500, starting second and finishing second. That kind of success as well as great performances in Indy Lights definitely merits a fulltime ride for both of these lads in Indycar. How can you decide between two great drivers? Let's see how the season pans out!
Let me know what you think!