You’d expect these gestures to be made at a slow Prius straddling two lanes—not an IndyCar. Ed Carpenter was not happy with IndyCar competitor Sage Karam after the Iowa Corn 300. Not happy at all. In fact, Carpenter was so mad at Karam that he shot over a single-fingered salute and then confronted him after the race.
Karam was just a little too close for Carpenter’s liking with only eighteen laps to go. Carpenter felt as if Karam forced him too close to the wall on the exit of turn 4, bringing on the barrage of gestures.
Carpenter, radioed back in that something should be done about Karam’s close moves, but no penalty was given.
Karam sped past Carpenter on the inside line, however, and eventually ended in third place. Carpenter finished sixth.
Carpenter wasn’t done after the race, either. Oh, no. He felt as if Karam’s driving was too risky, and that for him to get a podium for his risky business was too much.
So, Carpenter confronted Karam after the race.
“You’re going to hurt somebody, or you’re going to hurt yourself if you keep fuckin’ drivin’ like that. The fact that IndyCar doesn’t want to do anything about it is bullshit,” said Carpenter to Karam after the race before the broadcasters started to talk over Carpenter’s non-TV-friendly rant. “You need to grow up,” Carpenter added at the end.
Fortunately, it didn’t come to blows, and Karam went to collect his trophy for the first podium of his IndyCar career—sans any bruises or penalties, as of this writing.
All was well in the land (mostly).
Carpenter was still fuming after the race, as he felt that his car should have been on that podium, as it was good enough for third or fourth. Oh, and Karam still needed to be penalized by the powers-that-be. He felt as if he saved Sage from causing an accident, but that it was a travesty for Karam to get the podium for that kind of driving.
“If it wasn’t for guys with experience driving with their heads on, [Sage] would be hurting himself and other people,” Carpenter told NBCSN’s Katie Hargitt. “I think it’s ridiculous.”
Wait, wasn’t Carpenter the guy who just discouraged his fellow drivers from criticizing the series?! I’m so confused right now. This sounds like a critical remark to me, and Carpenter’s certainly willing to tell anyone who’ll listen how much he dislikes the lack of penalties heaped upon Karam.
Karam, however, was just as dismissive as IndyCar’s officials were about Carpenter’s complaints, accusing Carpenter of driving aggressively as well.
“I’m going for wins, and that’s how we’re driving,” said Karam to Hargitt. “It’s close racing. It’s IndyCar racing. This ain’t go-karts or anything anymore. We’re going to race each other hard and we’re professionals, and we know each others’ limits, so tough luck for him, I don’t know.”
It’s true: when his Chip Ganassi Racing teammates all fell out of contention for the win, the team’s hopes for a 100th win rested on their greenest driver: Karam. Karam was goin’ for it, man.
Carpenter’s wild gestures certainly resembled a red-mist-fueled go-kart battle, although it’s considerably less wise to flip the bird and shake your fist at 175 mph. (Yelling “I will have you, nemesis” is still fine, however, although your crew chief may tire of it after ten laps or so.)
Karam also admitted that he was tiring out towards the end, as the Iowa Corn 300 was one of the more grueling races he’d done.
“The steering became heavier,” Karam told MotorSportsTalk. “My arms really were close to falling out.”
Sure, this is an excuse that might help smooth over the allegations of overaggressive driving, but myth plausible. Friends who were at the Iowa Corn 300 complained about the heat. Moreover, MotorSportsTalk reports that drivers were experiencing 4-4.5 G in the turns.
If I were in Karam’s shoes, all I’d want is my trophy, a bucket of water and a nap after that race.
Unfortunately for him, it appears as though he gained a new nemesis in the process.
Aside from the Carpenter vs. Karam feud, Ryan Hunter-Reay ultimately won tonight’s race, giving him the first win of the 2015 season. American drivers swept the entire top 4 as well.
Pre-NBCSN-censored screengrab via Matt Archuleta
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