SONOMA, Calif. -- Sage Karam revealed on Friday that he has seen a psychologist to help him cope with the death of fellow IndyCar driver Justin Wilson.
Karam was leading the race at Pocono Raceway last Sunday but spun out and crashed into the wall. The nosecone off his Chevrolet flew high into the air and hit Wilson in the helmet. Wilson died the next day as a result of his head injury.
"It's been a tough week," Karam said at Sonoma Raceway on Friday. "This hasn't been such a good week for racing losing such a great guy. I'm working with a psychologist this week. I've worked with him in the past, but he has really been there for me this week. It's been tough for me, but the main thing here is Justin's family.
"I can't imagine what they are going through."
Karam said he does not know what caused his spin while leading the 200-lap race on Lap 180. The Chip Ganassi Racing team has looked at the data, and it remains undetermined how the car lost control.
"I did nothing different from the laps before," Karam said. "Nothing popped out. The car didn't break. I didn't hit the apron. I was past the bump in Turn 1. It just went and when it went it went fast."
Karam said his nights have been the worst because he dwells on Wilson's death.
"I'm trying not to spend a lot of alone time, because that is when I start thinking things," Karam said. "We're getting through it. This would be difficult for anybody. I don't think being 20 makes it even more of a challenge. It doesn't make it any easier or harder."
Karam said he needed to return to the track even though he is not scheduled to drive the No. 8 Chevrolet in Sunday's Go Pro Grand Prix of Sonoma. Sebastian Saavedra will drive that car on the road course at Sonoma Raceway.
"It's always good to be around the racing family, because these are the people closest to me and can pick me up when I need to be picked up," Karam said. "These are the ones who can help me out. If I were in the car, I would do what Justin would want me to do, and that is go out and be a badass and do what I need to do. But this week off for me is a good thing."
Originally, Karam thought he had a broken foot, but it was just bruised.
The young driver from Nazareth, Pennsylvania, has been unable to find consolation in the fact that Wilson's death was a fluke accident.
"There isn't any comfort in a time like this, but it was such a fluke thing," he said. "Justin was 10 or 11 cars back. This is a tough time, and I'm hoping his family is able to get through this with me.
"This is the toughest thing I've ever been to. It's a freak thing, but at night when I'm in bed I look at the ceiling and think, 'What if I didn't spin?' That has been the toughest thing.
"The car wasn't loose the whole race, and that is why I don't understand why I spun."
Karam said he is hoping to talk to Wilson's widow, Julia. He has spoken to Wilson's younger brother, Stefan.
"Out of all the people that can pick me up, his family are the ones that can most do that," Karam said. "We are trying to help each other out."
Karam's father, Jody, said it has been a mentally tough weekend.
"Even though Sage wasn't the reason, he feels that he was, and that is normal," his father said. "He is taking all the necessary steps to get through this. He has such a great support group around him on this team. Chip Ganassi has a great group of people here.
"You go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows in just two seconds. In the end, he will be OK. He has come a long way this year and has never made the same mistake twice. As a rookie, he has handled it well. But as his father there is no pain like you feel when your child is struggling. I'm a little concerned and doing everything I can. I'm going to be a good dad.
"It's hard. This is what we signed up for."
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