SPEEDWAY – As far as a buzz word, sacrifice gets its share of time in the spotlight during the 500 Mile Race.
Drivers give up time in their personal lives to make their dreams come true at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That can especially be true the younger a driver is when they first arrive to try to qualify for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
“You look at all the hard work and sacrifices you made to get to this point,” said 19-year old rookie Sage Karam at the Fastest Rookie Luncheon on Tuesday afternoon.
One of those was his senior prom back in Nazareth, Penn. It was held on the Friday before qualifications began for the 98th Indianapolis 500–the first for the 2013 Indy Lights Champion, forcing him to miss it in order to prepare for a full day of racing.
“I couldn’t have gone obviously because proms get to go a little late night and stuff so I had to get to bed early,” said Karam, admitting that he was a bit disappointed he couldn’t experience his first prom.
Luckily his team had a solution.
On the Monday before the race members of his Ganassi/Dreyer and Reinbold Racing team began preparing an impromptu prom to be held on Community Day at the Speedway. Brie Rentz, who works for DRR, began to plan the event on Monday from everything from getting Karam’s girlfriend Anna de Ferran to town along with decorations for the team’s garage.
“It’s been such a huge storyline with him being so young that we decided that we were going to make it up to him,” said Rentz. “My friend Heidi, who has been helping me out with PR this month, said ‘What if we throw Sage a Prom?’
“So we came up with this idea Monday night. So we put it all together yesterday.”
On Wednesday it started coming together. de Ferran arrived at the garage about an hour before Karam was scheduled to return from an appearance outside the track in a prom dress as the garage continued to be decorated for the festivities.
“We’ve kinda had a mad panic to get everything sorted for him,” said de Ferran of the prom. “It’s a complete surprise. He honestly has absolutely no idea that this is gonna happen. I think it’s going to be cool to see his reaction.”
Indeed it was one of shock as Karam walked into the garage after 3 p.m. with cameras and the Festival Queen Lauren Isaacs waiting for him to come in. When the driver stopped to take a look, Isaac placed a crown along with a “DRR Prom King” sash.
“Whaaat?” said Karam as the items were place on him as he continued to wonder what was going on.
Eventually the festivities continued as Karam was taking pictures with de Ferran in prom style while also having a first dance with members of the team and the media surrounding him. Karam and de Ferran would even go outside to pose for pictures with fans as this most unusual prom continued in the shadow of Gasoline Alley.
“It was a big surprise,” said Karam of the Prom. “This was awesome. I have an awesome crew.”
Who made sure this 19-year-old wouldn’t have to sacrifice a major event of his youth.