IndyCar Driver Review: Charlie Kimball

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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.

Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Formula One embrace the United States

Verstappen Perez United States
Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images
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Last week, Red Bull Racing revealed their new car, the RB19, and a new relationship with US-based Ford Motors in a press event in New York City complete with drivers Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Team Principle Christian Horner. They are the only Formula 1 team to launch in the United States, but even that small move of the needle reflects a major shift in the attitude of both F1’s management and their teams – and the extent to which the American audience has fully embraced the sport.

“It’s something fantastic and unique, for the sport to be able to break it into the U.S,” Perez told NBC Sports. “The market is huge and it’s a huge opportunity for everyone involved, for the drivers, for the team. It’s always a huge market.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Sergio Perez finished fourth in the Unites States Grand Prix, but he was first with the fans.  – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In 2023, Formula 1 will race three times in the United States and five times in North America. The Circuit of the Americas will host their 11th consecutive race in October before heading south to Mexico City. Miami returns for a second time in May on a temporary street course around the Hard Rock cafe and the third addition is in downtown Las Vegas in November.

With the Canadian Grand Prix on the schedule for June and the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, American fans are now in the ballpark of Europeans, who have eight events on the continent and one in England.

In 2022, Verstappen won every race in North America. He was kept from sweeping the hemisphere only by George Russell, who won in Brazil. That fact is less remarkable when one considers that Verstappen won 15 times in the season – nearly two-thirds of the races on the schedule.

By the time Formula arrived in Austin for Round 20 of 23, Verstappen had already wrapped up his second consecutive championship.

“Sometimes it can be hard to replicate the season, but I think it’s the same as with the car, right? You always try to improve it,” Verstappen told NBC Sports. “And I always look at the little details that even when you have had a good race, you could have done better. And then of course you also learn from the bad races. So we always try to look for these little improvements and general experience you gain year after year.

“You try to do better, but of course it also depends a lot on the package you have.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Max Verstappen United States Grand Prix win was one of 15 for the drivers and 17 for Red Bull.
(Gongora / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Now Verstappen’s thoughts will inevitably turn to establishing a dynasty – and America will again play a pivotal role.

“I just enjoy what I’m doing,” Verstappen said.  “After the years in Formula One, when you have to be on top of your game and you gain a lot on your experience – in that sense nothing really can get to you anymore. Every year you just try to do the best you can. But a lot depends on the material around you. It’s always a bit of a guess. Start the season as fit as you can be and be well prepared. But if you don’t have the car, you’re not going to win the championship.”

Perez added two wins to Red Bull’s total, at Monaco and the Marina Bay Street course. With two of the US 2023 races on street courses, Perez hopes to close the gap on Verstappen and potentially be his principle rival for the championship.

“The strategy is clear; it is to maximize the potential of the car – and we believe we have a good car, but how good?,” Perez said “We don’t know what the competition is doing. We just give our best in building this car and we hope that it’s good enough to get us to win races.

“I think we have to work together as a team. At the same time. We both want to win the championship. It’s just having good compromise. The competition will be really strong out there, so we really need everything we possibly can get from each other.”

Formula One returns to the United States for Round 6 and the Miami Grand Prix on May 7.