Photo: Tony DiZinno

Charlie Kimball’s car number switches to No. 42 for Indy 500

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INDIANAPOLIS – Charlie Kimball’s usual No. 83 Tresiba Chevrolet will take on a different number for the remainder of the month of May, with an announcement Monday morning he’ll swap to No. 42 for the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

His team boss Chip Ganassi, his NASCAR teammate Kyle Larson and Novo Nordisk executive Michael Bachner joined Kimball for the announcement.

It’s a promotional program for Novo Nordisk, as Tresiba lasts at least 42 hours after first use, and also will honor 42 pioneers within the diabetes community.

“The 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 will be the highlight of this year’s season and it gives me a great opportunity to honor the diabetes community and help inspire those people living with or affected by diabetes,” Kimball said in a release.

“As a race car driver and a person living with diabetes, the duration of action of Tresiba® is important to me and plays an important role in my management plan. I am honored to represent Novo Nordisk and Chip Ganassi Racing and to share my story with the diabetes community.”

For Kimball, the hope is that the number change mirrors Ganassi’s last 500-only one-off change – Dario Franchitti switched from No. 10 to No. 50 in 2012 at the ‘500 owing to Target’s 50 years in business, and promptly proceeded to win his third and Ganassi’s fourth Indianapolis 500 following a dramatic late race battle with Takuma Sato.

Kimball has been on a roll of late in the ‘500, with three top-10 finishes in the last four years including a third place finish last year.

He’s also fresh off his best run of the season in Saturday’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, where he qualified a career-best second and finished fifth, and yet afforded to feel slightly disappointed.

Position of F1 start lights altered to compensate for safety halo

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The position of start lights will be altered on Formula One tracks this season, in a bid to ensure the drivers’ line of vision is not impeded by the controversial halo protection device.

The halo is a titanium structure introduced this year in a bid to ramp up driver safety, forming a ring around the cockpit top. It is designed to protect the drivers’ head from loose debris and offer better safety during eventual collisions.

Although drivers largely understand the need for it, very few like it. They are worried it impedes visibility, it looks ugly and also that fans will no longer be able to identify a driver properly from his race helmet. Drivers also take longer to climb in and out of their cars.

Formula One’s governing body has addressed concerns and asked every circuit “to make the lights at a standard height above the track,” FIA race director Charlie Whiting said.

“Pole position seems to be the worst case scenario with the halo,” Whiting added at the season-opening Australian GP. “Maybe the driver can’t quite see the lights, or see only half of them, and he might have to move his head too much.”

The new start lights were positioned lower for Friday’s first two practice sessions at Albert Park. Drivers were also allowed the rare chance to rehearse grid starts at the end of both sessions.

“We haven’t normally allowed practice starts on the grid here because it’s quite a tight timetable,” Whiting said. “What I thought would be a good idea was to give the driver sight of those lights, rather than for the first time on Sunday evening.”

A repeat set of lights has been moved from its usual position halfway up the grid to a more convenient position to the left.

“Those repeat lights were normally halfway up the grid, and they were fitted round about 2009, when the rear wings became higher on the cars,” Whiting said. “But now the wings have been lowered, there’s no need for those halfway up the grid.”