Charlie Kimball's first IndyCar win

Indycar Racing News

While early leaders Ryan Hunter-Reay, Will Power and Scott Dixon took conservative strategies, trying to save fuel so they could run the race with two rather than three pitstops, Charlie Kimball adopted an aggressive approach to Sunday’s IndyCar race at Mid-Ohio. Kimball ran flat-out all the way, making three stops and winning convincingly by 5.5 seconds from Simon Pagenaud who also took an aggressive, three-stop strategy. For those of us who don’t much like fuel saving in motor racing it was a satisfying result.

It was also very satisfying for Kimball who’s in his third year racing Indycars for Chip Ganassi’s second team. Kimball has looked good this year, leading four races prior to Mid-Ohio and completing a Ganassi podium sweep with team-mates Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti in last month’s Pocono 400.

At Mid-Ohio, Kimball qualified fifth after crashing in the wet in Saturday morning’s practice and Ganassi’s team decided to split their strategy for the race with Dixon and Franchitti aiming to save fuel and go for two stops and Kimball running unrestrained with three stops.

“It was pretty fantastic,” Kimball said. “I can’t give enough credit to the entire team to give me a car to start in the top five after I wrote-off the primary car yesterday morning. They said all I had to do was hit my target lap times and I had a great car so all I had to do was hit my numbers.”

Kimball commented on his winning strategy. “At the end of the day we all agreed,” he said. “The #10 (Franchitti) and #9 (Dixon) cars are in a different position in the championship. They’re a little further up than I am and we want to do everything we can to help Scott. We split strategies to hedge our bets as a team. They told me it was three stops and all I had to do was drop the hammer.”

Kimball is the son of Gordon Kimball who worked with John Barnard in the ’70s and ’80s, first helping design Indycars and then Formula 1 cars for McLaren and Ferrari. Charlie was born in the UK while his father was working at McLaren but grew up in California. After starting his racing career at home in America, Charlie moved to the UK in 2004 when he was 19 to race Formula Ford and then F3 cars. He won races in the UK in both FF1600 and F3 and became the first American to win an F3 Euroseries race.

Kimball returned to the United States in 2010 to race in Indy Lights, then moved up to Indycars the following year with sponsorship from diabetes health care provider Novo Nordisk. Kimball was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic in 2007 and races with a wirelessly transmitted continuous glucose monitor that tells him to drink sugar water if his glucose level falls during a race.

“I’m really proud of him,” said team owner Chip Ganassi. “He crashed yesterday morning in practice and the team came back and did a great job. What he did today was unbelievable. He’s an unbelievable kid.”

Charlie is the first modern IndyCar driver to suffer from diabetes but he’s not the only Indy driver who was diabetic. Howdy Wilcox II was a diabetic who raced in the early 1930s and finished second in the 1932 Indy 500. The following year Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner and WWI flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker refused to allow Wilcox to drive at Indianapolis even though the other drivers said they had no objections to racing with Wilcox. Rickenbacker’s censure brought an end to Wilcox’s racing career.

Meanwhile, Hélio Castroneves continues to lead IndyCar’s championship after finishing sixth at Mid-Ohio. Castroneves qualified a disappointing 15th but drove a clean race, extending his point lead over Scott Dixon who finished seventh at Mid-Ohio. Ryan Hunter-Reay qualified on the pole at Mid-Ohio and led the opening 30 laps only to finish fifth behind Franchitti and Will Power. Defending champion Hunter-Reay is third in points, 65 behind Castroneves and 34 behind Dixon with five races remaining.

Click here for more on IndyCar from Gordon Kirby

indycar  Scott Dixon wins twice in Toronto

You may also like