IndyCar Driver Review: Charlie Kimball

Leave a comment

With the IndyCar season in the books and a limited amount of news to come since the season finale at Fontana, my MotorSportsTalk colleague Chris Estrada and are taking a look back at the 2013 season just past. Chris and I each ranked our top 10 drivers and some of the biggest stories; now we take a look back at the field driver-by-driver.

In ninth place, one of the breakout stars of 2013, Mid-Ohio winner Charlie Kimball…

2013 SEASON PREVIEW

Charlie Kimball

  • Team: Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing
  • 2012: 19th Place, Best Finish 2nd, Best Start 9th
  • 2013: 9th Place, 1 Win, Best Start 4th, 2 Podiums, 3 Top-5, 10 Top-10, 80 Laps Led, 12.8 Avg. Start, 10.9 Avg. Finish

DiZinno says: I love how this kid has grown up and silenced the doubters. Often overlooked, ridiculed and derided for the first year-and-a-half of his IndyCar career as just “that driver with diabetes,” “Chuck strong” began to show signs of life with the 2012 pass of the year and a runner-up finish in Toronto. He took it a step further in 2013 with another jaw-dropper at Barber, on Will Power of all people. Then he added second in Pocono, a masterfully executed first win at Mid-Ohio (yeah, I called it), and another excellent drive in Fontana. To finish ninth in points in this caliber field is a credit to his development and the quality of people around him at Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing. It could not happen to a nicer individual.

Estrada says: When Kimball first entered the big leagues in 2011, there was some doubt as to whether he really belonged. Three years later, he’s firmly become part of IndyCar’s “new generation” of talent after methodically improving over time. In 2013, the Californian showed that he can now be counted on as a regular contender in the series after great runs at Barber (fourth), Pocono (runner-up), and Mid-Ohio, where he pulled off a three-stop strategy and bested Simon Pagenaud in the closing laps to take his inaugural career win. This was the year that Kimball had to really start putting results on the board, and he did the job.

Michael Andretti looking forward to new Australian Supercars venture

Getty Images
Leave a comment

If it seems like Michael Andretti is out to conquer the world, he is – kind of.

The former IndyCar star turned prolific team owner has won three of the last four Indianapolis 500s and five overall, second only to Roger Penske’s 16 Indy 500 triumphs.

Along the way, in addition to expanding his own IndyCar and Indy Lights operation, the son of Mario Andretti and the primary shareholder of Andretti Autosport has also branched out into Global RallyCross and Formula E racing in recent years.

And now, Andretti has further expanded his brand internationally, following Penske to the world down under — as in the world of Australian V8 Supercars.

Andretti has teamed with Supercars team owner Ryan Walkinshaw, along with veteran motorsports marketer and executive director of McLaren Technology Group and United Autosports owner and chairman, Zak Brown.

Together, the three have formed Walkinshaw Andretti United, based in suburban Melbourne, Australia. The new team kicks off the new season with the Adelaide 500 from March 1-4.

“It’s just extending our brand and putting it out there,” Andretti told NBC Sports. “The Supercars are such a great series.

“It all started with Zach Brown calling me and said ‘You have to talk to Ryan Walkinshaw. He’s got something interesting to talk to you about.’

“We talked and literally in like a half-hour, we said, ‘Let’s figure out how we’re going to make this work.’ And then Zack was like, ‘Hey, what about me?’ And then Zack came in as a partner and it’s cool now that we have the Walkinshaw Andretti United team.

“I’m really excited about that program, the guys at the shop are excited about it, we’ve been doing a lot of things to try and help it because it’s such a cool series and the cars are so cool.

“I went down there to Bathurst, which was to me one of the coolest tracks in the world. I wish I could have driven it, I really do. It looks like a blast.

“It’s amazing how big that series is when you go down there. It’s one of the biggest sports in Australia. It was just a great opportunity for us to extend our portfolio.”

Admittedly, Andretti had some extra incentive to want to get involved in the Supercars world: Penske joined forces with legendary Dick Johnson Racing in September 2014.

The organization came together quickly and the rebranded DJR Team Penske went on to win the 2017 V8 Supercars championship.

“Roger was down there the last few years,” Andretti said, adding that fact as incentive to get his own organization into the series. “So it’s cool to go race head-to-head with Roger. That was also in the back of our minds.”

This is no start-up venture for Andretti. The roots of the new venture began in 1990 as the Holden Racing Team, which went on to become one of the most successful organizations in Australian V8 Supercar racing, having won the drivers’ championship six times and the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship’s top race, the Bathurst 1000 (essentially Australia’s version of the Indy 500), seven times.

Last season, Holden Racing team morphed into Triple Eight Race Engineering and was renamed Mobil 1 HSV Racing.

And now the company has been renamed once again for the 2018 campaign under the Walkinshaw Andretti United banner.

The team will be composed of two Holden ZB Commodores with drivers James Courtney and Scott Pye, as well as a Porsche 911 GT3-R in the Australian GT championship.

What’s next for Andretti’s motorsports portfolio? Right now, it’s pretty full, but you can bet running for championships from Australia (Supercars) to globally (GRC) to Indianapolis (Indy 500) to the U.S. (Verizon IndyCar Series) are at the top of this year’s list.