Skip to content

Charlie Kimball has the potential to surprise at this year’s Indy 500

May 20, 2013, 6:00 PM EDT

Indianapolis 500 - Qualifying Getty Images

The Indianapolis 500 is so much more than just a race for the IndyCar community and the state of Indiana at large. According to Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing’s Charlie Kimball, the month of May is its own season.

“There’s winter, spring, May, fall, and Colts season,” Kimball said Monday in Milwaukee for Indy 500 Media Day. “We are smack dab in the middle of the third season right now.”

He could also be referring to the fact its his third season in the IZOD IndyCar Series, and one where he has taken the next logical step in his career. Kimball, who’s known more nationally for having Type 1 diabetes, has matured as a driver through yearly improvements.

He’s in a much better place with preparation for this year’s 500, as it’s his third, and second with the Dallara DW12 chassis. Having a year with the same equipment, after a transition from 2011 to 2012, has increased his confidence.

“It was my second Indy 500, so I knew what the month of May looked like, and what the race felt like. But it was still a brand new race car and type of race with it,” said Kimball.

“This year, the chassis and the team have evolved enough to where it isn’t exactly the same. We did a good job last year to get all the info we needed.”

One of the areas where Kimball – and Honda – excelled was in fuel mileage. Kimball led three laps after staying out longer on a couple stints, and finished a respectable eighth place.

“When you’re talking a race with as many stops as the Indy 500, a lap longer each stop, or two laps, you’ve made up half a stint,” he explained. “Maybe you can finish with one less stop if you get lucky.

“A lot of it takes patience from the driver and team standpoints. If they tell you to hit a fuel mileage number and you want to race the guy in front, you need to understand where they’re coming from and what position you’re in as a driver.

“You can take that spot if you can, but if you can sit there in the draft, protect your spot, but save some fuel, to get that lap or two longer, catch a yellow and suddenly you’ve gained a lap.”

Kimball is not a favorite to win, but he’s an under-the-radar driver who, coupled with the CGR resources and the confidence of two full Indianapolis 500 race distances under his belt, has the potential to surprise.

Latest Posts
  1. Ricciardo’s first podium in ages comes, like Bourdais’ at Toronto, with a trophy drop

    Jul 27, 2015, 4:51 PM EDT

    RIChunpodium Getty Images

    Good news, Ricciardo made the podium. Bad news, his trophy didn’t survive it.

  2. INDYCAR rescinds minor penalty against Jakes issued at Iowa

    Jul 27, 2015, 4:09 PM EDT

    JakesIowa Getty Images

    Jakes kept his visor down after all on a pit stop in Iowa.

  3. Gabby Chaves’ Honda/HPD Midget adventure (VIDEO)

    Jul 27, 2015, 3:13 PM EDT

    GabbyHeadshot Getty Images

    A quick look back at Chaves’ short track debut.

  4. Fiancee battle: Graham Rahal vs. Courtney Force in a Sonoma skills challenge (VIDEO)

    Jul 27, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    GRcf Getty Images

    Rahal and Force compete against each other in a series of fun challenges at Sonoma.

  5. For Dixon, it’s likely Mid-Ohio or bust in terms of 2015 IndyCar title hopes

    Jul 27, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio - Day 3 Getty Images

    If another Dixon Mid-Ohio win happens, it will save his championship chances.

  6. After blowing his chance to cut the gap to Hamilton, Rosberg must now avoid the mistakes of last summer

    Jul 27, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's German driver Nico Rosberg walks down the pits during the third practice session at the Hungaroring circuit near Budapest on July 25, 2015, ahead of the  Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Luke Smith considers the fall-out of a dramatic Hungarian Grand Prix that saw both Mercedes drivers miss an opportunity to seize control of the drivers’ championship.

  7. Booth proud of Manor for honoring Bianchi in Hungary

    Jul 27, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Manor Marussia F1 team driver Great Britain's Will Stevens has "#JB17" written on his car in tribute to late French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi who died nine months after his crash in the Japan Grand Prix, as he competes during the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit  near Budapest on July 26, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Manor makes it through a difficult weekend by getting both of its cars to the finish in Hungary.

  8. Race Recap: Vettel draws level with Senna on all-time win list with victory in Hungary

    Jul 27, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 26:  Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari celebrates with the trophy after winning the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 26, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Vettel storms to his 41st career victory in Hungary as both Mercedes drivers hit trouble.

  9. NHRA Mile-High Nationals winners: Torrence, Beckman, Morgan, Krawiec

    Jul 26, 2015, 11:09 PM EDT

    (Photo courtesy NHRA) (Photo courtesy NHRA)

    Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Larry Morgan (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) won in Sunday’s NHRA Mopar Mile-High Nationals.

  10. F1 grid unites to pay tribute to Jules Bianchi (VIDEO)

    Jul 26, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    xxxx during the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 26, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Getty Images

    The F1 grid comes together ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix to pay its respects to Jules Bianchi.

  11. WATCH LIVE: Second of two Red Bull GRC races from Detroit, 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC

    Jul 26, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    GRCDaytona Getty Images

    The Red Bull Global Rallycross doubleheader in Detroit concludes with today’s Round 6.

  12. F1 Paddock Pass: Hungarian GP post-race (VIDEO)

    Jul 26, 2015, 3:40 PM EDT

    xxxx during the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 26, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Getty Images

    Ferrari caps off an emotional weekend with victory at the Hungaroring as Mercedes came unstuck.

  13. Verstappen “unbelievably happy” with fourth in Hungary

    Jul 26, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    xxxx during the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 26, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Getty Images

    Verstappen claims his first top five finish in F1 in Hungary, capping off an impressive first half-season in the sport.

  14. Alonso charges to fifth in Hungary, sending McLaren into summer break on a high

    Jul 26, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    McLaren Honda's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso competes during the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit  near Budapest on July 26, 2015.  AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Alonso claims McLaren-Honda first top five finish of the season in Hungary, with Jenson Button also scoring points in P9.

  15. Williams disappointed to leave Hungary without points

    Jul 26, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    Technical staff prepare to change the broken wheel of the car of Williams Martini Racing's Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas  in the pit lane during the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit  near Budapest on July 26, 2015. 
 AFP PHOTO / POOL / RONALD ZAK        (Photo credit should read RONALD ZAK/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    A penalty for Massa and a puncture for Bottas leaves both Williams drivers outside of the points in Hungary.

  16. Rosberg: “Awful feeling” to lose podium and chance to cut gap to Hamilton in Hungary

    Jul 26, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT

    xxxx during the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 26, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Getty Images

    At one stage, Rosberg had been poised to take the lead of the championship into the summer break, only to lose yet more ground on Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.

  17. Hamilton escapes one of his “worst races” to extend championship lead in Hungary

    Jul 26, 2015, 12:59 PM EDT

    xxxx during the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 26, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Getty Images

    A poor start, off-track excursion, collision with Ricciardo and drive-through penalty can’t stop Hamilton from finishing sixth and extending his championship lead.

  18. Hamilton among five drivers handed sanctions following Hungarian GP

    Jul 26, 2015, 12:02 PM EDT

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton (L) and Williams Martini Racing's Brazilian driver Felipe Massa compete during the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit  near Budapest on July 26, 2015.  AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The stewards were kept very busy in Hungary on Sunday.