Entering this weekend’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Charlie Kimball is hoping to relive his greatest triumph in the IndyCar series.
Kimball won at Mid-Ohio in 2013 for his sole IndyCar win since he moved up from the Indy Lights series for the 2011 season. Currently he rests in ninth place in a crowded points race and, to his happiness, has had very consistent results across the board, finishing between fifth and 12th in all but one race.
“It’s been a really good year,” he said. “I’ve over-performed at some tracks and we’ve had better results.”
With roughly 20 points separating seventh place from 13th in the points standings, Kimball is hoping for another good showing at Mid-Ohio, which is one of his favorite stops on the schedule.
“Mid-Ohio is one of the greatest tracks for me,” he said. “I just love the experience — it’s a highlight. Last year, I just felt the energy at the racetrack on Sunday morning. To have that at Mid-Ohio is good for the series.”
Kimball noted that his past success at the track definitely does add to his love of Mid-Ohio.
“For sure, it does,” he said. “I look back fondly on that race and the way we got the win. We committed early to a three-stop strategy and it worked. There still are a few guys on my car who were part of my team in 2013.”
When it comes to racing on the Morrow County road course, Kimball noted that the course offers a special sort of challenge, as no one strategy is sufficient for the entire 2.4-mile track.
“It’s one big challenge,” he said. “You never have a perfect race car at Mid-Ohio. There are so many different types of corners. You always have to compensate as a driver and have to change your style so the car is as balanced as possible.”
Kimball has an additional challenge whenever he takes to the track. Several years ago, he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, so a certain amount of preparation is necessary for him to be able to race safely — which became even more important when he moved from the Indy Lights series to the main IndyCar series and its longer races.
“Having diabetes and having longer races makes my preparation more important than it ever has been,” he said. “The tools in my car have been upgraded a little bit. Right on the dash, I have my blood sugar, so I can keep track of what my body is doing during the course of the race.”
Over the years, Kimball has come to embrace his role as an advocate for diabetics, inspiring others with the disease to achieve their goals.
“Something my sponsor said while at Indy Lights was that they wanted to get me to tell my story on the biggest stage possible,” he said. “Frankly, I think diabetes made me a better athlete and driver because I have balance. I think it has helped me on a personal and professional level to handle the ups and downs of racing. To have that diabetes community supporting and encouraging me helps on and off the track.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS