IndyCar Driver Preview: Charlie Kimball

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#83 Charlie Kimball

  • Team: Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing
  • Engine: Honda
  • Sponsors: Novo Nordisk
  • 2012: 19th Place, One Podium, Six Top Tens

2012 WRAP: Kimball was unable to advance up the standings in 2012, but he still made noticeable progress in his sophomore season. The American collected his first podium in the series at Toronto, charging from 13th to finish second behind Ryan Hunter-Reay. In addition, he earned six top-10 finishes compared to the two that he had in his 2011 rookie season. Kimball may have been able to better his final championship result had he not fractured his hand in a July 26 testing crash at Mid-Ohio, which caused him to miss the race there one week later.

2013 OUTLOOK: It’s Kimball’s third season with the Ganassi camp and that continuity needs to translate to more consistent results. But after the good signs shown in 2012, he and his No. 83 team are feeling confident going into this year. Adding to that, race strategist Mitch Davis has said that the team’s been able to devote proper time to fine-tuning the car and working on pit stops this off-season – both of which they weren’t really able to do last year. Another one or two podiums and more top-five efforts may not be far off for this group.

Danica says goodbye: ‘Definitely not a great ending’ but ‘I’m for sure grateful’

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INDIANAPOLIS – Danica Patrick’s final racing news conference didn’t but at least she didn’t lose her sense of humor about it.

“Is that like the Oscars when they close the show out?” Patrick joked when her opening address was drowned out by the midrace broadcast of Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 in the media center. “Take my mic away. I’ll leave. I promise. I don’t really want to be here because I’m pretty sad, but all right. I guess I’ll stop there.”

That was about as lighthearted as it got, though, for the most accomplished female driver in racing history after the final start of her career. That naturally made for some reflection, too.

“I will say that I’m for sure very grateful for everybody,” she said. “It still was a lot of great moments this month. A lot of great moments this year.”

Patrick was the first woman to lead both the Indianapolis 500 (in her 2005 debut) and the Daytona 500 (in 2013 when she also was the first female to qualify on pole position in NACAR history).

But she couldn’t bookend that with similarly memorable finishes. After crashing out of her final two Cup races in the November 2017 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway and the 2018 Daytona 500, Indy concluded the same way.

“Definitely not a great ending,” she said. “But I kind of said before I came here that it could be a complete disaster, as in not in the ballpark at all. And look silly, then people may remember that. And if I win, people will remember that.

“Probably anything in between might just be a little part of the big story. So I kind of feel like that’s how it is. I’m appreciative for all the fans, for GoDaddy, for Ed Carpenter Racing, for IndyCar. Today was a tough day. A little bit of it was OK. A lot of it was just a typical drive.”

Beforehand, Patrick seemed relaxed while smiling and laughing outside her car with a tight circle of close friends and family that included her parents and boyfriend Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers quarterback.

“For sure, I was definitely nervous,” she said about her first Indy 500 start in seven years. “I found myself most of the time on the grid being confused what part of prerace we were in. I was like, ‘I remember this,’ and ‘Where are the Taps?’ and ‘When is the anthem?’ but I had all my people around me, so I was in good spirits.”

And with that, she bid adieu.

“Thank you guys,” she said. “Thank you for everything. I’ll miss you. Most of the time. Maybe you’ll miss me just a little. Thanks, guys.”