Alpha Prime Racing has made some major changes ahead of the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series season. The team has brought on Sage Karam to run several races and turned the No. 45 Chevrolet into a full-time entry.
The team co-owned by Tommy Joe Martins and Caesar Bacarella announced the big plans on January 6. Alpha Prime Racing first welcomed Karam to the stable of drivers and said that he would make his season debut on March 19 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The team then dropped the news that the No. 45 will no longer be a part-time entry.
“As competitive as the Xfinity Series field is going to be this year, it’s even more important to our team to bring in talented drivers like Sage,” Martins said in a statement from the team. “Sage is a top-level racecar driver with a history of success in everything he’s ever driven. We can’t wait to work with him.”
Karam Previously Expressed a Desire to Run a Packed Schedule
The move to Alpha Prime Racing continues Karam’s journey toward full-time competition. He made his Xfinity Series and Truck Series debuts in 2021 with five total starts. Karam also ran the Indy 500 and the full Nitro Rallycross Next Series season for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.
Karam sat down with Heavy during Round 3 of the Nitro Rallycross Next Series and discussed his plans for the 2022 season. He did not have anything set at the time, but his goal was to return across multiple series. Karam wanted to run full-time in one of the NASCAR series and compete once again in the Indy 500. He also expressed a desire to return to NRX Next after winning five races and contending for the championship.
“This was my first year kind of dipping my toes in the water and the whole stock car world,” Karam told Heavy during the November interview. “I really enjoyed it. And it was something that I didn’t know what to expect, but I had a lot of fun with it. I learned a lot and for a few of those races, I did better than I thought I could do, and that just led to some confidence going into the offseason of like, ‘hey, maybe I could do this more in a full-time capacity.’ So I’d love to go full-time racing in XFINITY or even NASCAR Trucks.
“I want to be back at DRR for the Indy 500 again this coming year, which I think is a big possibility of happening,” Karam continued. “The team has shown interest in having me continue doing rally stuff in the future so that would be fun because I’m excited to see where [Nitro Rallycross Next] is going to go and how it’s going to grow. In the next few years, you’re going to start seeing electric cars over here and everything.”
Alpha Prime Racing Has More News To Announce
Following the news that Karam will suit up for multiple races in 2022, APR teased at even more announcements. The team tweeted that there would be information in the coming weeks about the driver and partner lineups for the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway.
APR has provided some information about the driver schedules. The team announced that Karam will make his debut at Atlanta Motor Speedway while Ryan Ellis will make his first start of the year at Martinsville Speedway in April. Andy Lally, a veteran driver, will run all of the road courses on the schedule.
APR has not provided details about when Martins or Bacarella will get behind the wheel. Martins originally announced on August 30 that his goal was to run 10-15 races for the team.
Bacarella’s situation is different considering that NASCAR issued an indefinite suspension due to a violation of the substance abuse policy. Martins told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on November 22 that the failed drug test occurred during the fall race at Talladega Superspeedway and that Bacarella had unintentionally taken the banned substance.
Martins said during his appearance that Bacarella will need to produce a clean drug test in order to set up his return to the team. He set the potential timeline for mid-January, ahead of the 2022 Xfinity Series season.