INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Sage Karam is aiming for his sixth start in the Indianapolis 500.
"I am still one of the youngest guys in the field, but I've gotten five solid years under my belt," said Karam.
The Dreyer & Reinbold Racing driver is already a 500 veteran, but the challenges of not being in the IndyCar Series full-time are prevalent.
"You only do one race a season," Karam said. "I basically get paid this month and then it's like, alright, you have to live off of this for 11 months until you come back."
It was during a race a few years ago that Karam got noticed at a track, but it wasn't his driving skill that caught the eye.
"One year I was out at the Long Beach race and I got contacted by Wihelmina," said Karam.
After a meeting in New York, he was signed on the spot. However, the rookie model endured a bit of a crash course before translating that confidence you see on track to what is captured on camera.
"All of a sudden, they're like we need you to do this in front of the camera, jump around, because it was an athletic shoot," said Karam. "I looked really stupid probably, because I was just really awkward about it and didn't really know. You can see in the photos when I'm not very comfortable and then all of a sudden, it's like a light switch clicks. You just don't care, throw it out there and just go."
His teammate JR Hildebrand knows how crucial versatility is as a one-off driver.
"You like seeing guys be able to get out of the car and find something they like doing away from the track," Hildebrand said. "There are only so many doors you can go constantly bang on to get back here and do this."
While Karam's modeling career has already landed him campaigns with Saks 5th Avenue and Express for Men, he'd like nothing more than his racing career to earn him a spot among the legends at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"I want my face on that Borg more than anything."