Chip Ganass Racing

Photo: IndyCar

Kimball, Chilton quiet but solid at Road America

Leave a comment

While Scott Dixon scored victory for Chip Ganassi Racing, two of the team’s other drivers enjoyed quietly solid days at the Kohler Grand Prix at Road America.

Charlie Kimball, in need of a strong finish after being stricken with bad luck so far in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season, scored his best finish of the year with a fine run to sixth place. While he was never a part of the battle for victory, he was “best of the rest” for most of the day and enjoyed a solid, mistake-free run.

“Overall a really solid day for the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team,” Kimball said afterward. Though he admitted tire management in the race’s third stint hampered his efforts, he was more than pleased with the end result.

“That third stint, I don’t think I managed the Firestone alternates as well as some of the guys around me,” Kimball revealed. “You saw that with (Will Power) with a better in and out lap. That was disappointing, because I think we could have maybe had a shot at a top five. Overall though, to fight off some competitors for that last stint after the final yellow felt good and it felt good to bring it home in sixth for the guys. Kind of a semi-trouble free weekend and pretty happy with it.”

Teammate Max Chilton, too, scored a solid ten finish, the Briton finishing ninth. However, unlike Kimball, Chilton lamented not being able to finish higher on a circuit where he feels very comfortable.

Max Chilton during qualifying for the Kohler Grand Prix. Photo: IndyCar

“It’s not how we wanted it, especially after how quick we were (in the morning warmup),” said Chilton, who started seventh and was second fastest in the morning warmup. Like Kimball, he struggled with tire management, and an untimely caution when he was on the primary black tires put paid to his chances of a better finish.

“Something just wasn’t working for us. On a set of reds, we were struggling massively and then we went to the blacks, which would’ve been alright, but then the safety car came out and everyone else had longer life on the reds and I was struggling again.”

With the Kohler Grand Prix in the books, Chilton currently sits 11th in the championship, three points behind tenth-place Ed Jones, while Kimball remains 18th, 72 points outside the top ten.

IndyCar Media Day Roundup: Max Chilton

Leave a comment

Winning in only the second oval race of your career can open very promising doors.

That’s what happened to Max Chilton, a former Formula One driver, when he won an Indy Lights race at Iowa Speedway in just his 10th race in the series.

Chilton, a native of the UK, was competing for Trevor Carlin when he won from the pole.

“The team looked into it and they realized it was my second only oval race,” Chilton said at the Verizon IndyCar Series’ Media Day. “In the following weeks I got contacted by every team. It was a filter system. I got it down to two pretty quickly. There was one that I wanted to be with.”

The filter system led to the announcement on Feb. 1 that Chilton would be the fourth full-time driver for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2016.

Chilton spent two years in Formula One driving for Marussia F1 Team. But the native of Reigate, England never earned a podium or led a lap in 35 races. Now he will strap into the cockpit of car owned by one of the winningest owners in IndyCar.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for me,” Chilton said. “It’s been a difficult last few years because even though I was in Formula One and that was my dream, it’s frustrating not having a chance to win. You finish 13th, it’s disheartening.

“Now I’m with Chip. Not too sure on the ovals, plenty of the road courses I haven’t raced. But I have the chance to win. I’m looking forward to it.”

Chilton, 24, has never set foot in an IndyCar and won’t until a one-day test on Feb. 10 at Sonoma Raceway. He will be only the fourth British-born driver in 24 years to have had a full-time career in F1 before journeying to the United States to take on IndyCar. Chilton’s predecessor’s were Nigel Mansell (1993), Mark Blundell (1996) and Justin Wilson (2004).

“I can’t really say how it’s going to be,” Chilton said. “I can remember the first time I drove an Indy Lights car on the oval last year. It was Homestead. I’m sure it’s the same for many of the European or Formula One drivers that come over, you feel completely out of your comfort zone. I’m not going to lie, I still feel that way.”

While working alongside Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball, Chilton has already been mentored by one of the most successful names in IndyCar history – Dario Franchitti.

“He was probably on speed dial last year when I was on an oval, (asking) ‘what do I do now?'” Chilton said. “He was the one that said, ‘I didn’t feel comfortable (on ovals) for three years.’ That makes me feel better. It should feel abnormal because it’s not normal to be constantly turning left. Might get bored with it, but I’ll give it a go.”

For his maiden voyage in IndyCar, Chilton is in “the best place.”

“For someone that is coming across, not having a clue about the Indy scene, ovals, I’m in a fantastic situation.”

IndyCar: Chip Ganassi teams to test for one day at Sonoma

(Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

In case you weren’t paying attention, yesterday was the Verizon IndyCar Series’ media day in Indianapolis. The ball is officially rolling toward the 2016 season opener at St. Petersburg on March 13.

So who wants a chance to see some IndyCar’s on the track a month ahead of time? If you live on the West Coast and said “I do!” while sitting at your computer trying to look like you’re working, you’re in luck.

All four drivers who will compete for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2016 will take part in a one-day test at Sonoma Raceway next Wednesday, Feb. 10. The test is open to the public with free admission.

Scott Dixon (No. 9 Target Chevrolet), Tony Kanaan (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Chevrolet), Charlie Kimball (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chevrolet) and rookie Chilton (No. 8 Chevrolet) will be present at the 12-turn, 2.38-mile road course.

Chilton, a former Formula 1 driver, will be making his first laps in an IndyCar during the test.

The test will run from 9 a.m.-5 p.m PT. If there is inclement weather, the test will be rescheduled for Feb. 11.