LONG POND, Pa. — Sage Karam isn't racing in today's IndyCar event at Pocono Raceway. That isn't making his return any easier in the year since tragedy struck at the track.
In 2015, a freak accident which started with Karam's spin claimed the life of fellow driver Justin Wilson.
Karam led at the 21/2-mile triangular track when he crashed in the closing laps. A piece of the nose cone from his car flew into Wilson's path and struck the affable Englishman in the helmet. The next day Wilson, 37, a popular veteran and a married father of two, died from his injury.
Karam, 21, is still struggling with what happened.
"It's different for me," Karam said at the track, where Union Jacks fly at half-staff to honor Wilson. "…If I was racing, going around the track would give me some weird feelings. I know I'm here in the spot that changed my life forever."
Karam lost his ride with Chip Ganassi Racing after last season because of sponsorship difficulties. He has raced in IndyCar once this year, in the Indianapolis 500 in a one-off ride with Dreyer & Reinbold.
Wilson's widow and two young girls attended the Indy 500, but won't be at Pocono. Karam, of nearby Nazareth, Pa., knows there's another step to take on the track.
"I see flashbacks in Turn 1," he said. "I feel like I need to do it for myself, go through Turn 1 again flat out. I think that would be the last part of it."
In Saturday's qualifying for today's ABC Supply 500, Mikhail Aleshin earned his first series pole and the first for a Russian driver. His lap of 220.454 mph edged Josef Newgarden. The usually stoic Aleshin said, "It's a lot of emotions definitely. Maybe you cannot see it with my Russian face, but it's true."
Sprint Cup postponed: The scheduled Sprint Cup race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway was postponed until today after running just 48 of 500 laps. Rain delayed the start for more than an hour, then two more rain delays hit.
NHRA: Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and Ron Capps (Funny Car) won the Northwest Nationals finals, postponed on Aug. 7 near Seattle, while the circuit was in Brainerd, Minn. For today's Lucas Oil Nationals finals in Brainerd, Brown led qualifying, as did Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock) and Angelle Sampey (Pro Stock Motorcycle).