Teammates Simon Pagenaud and Mikhail Aleshin pulled away late in today’s Race 2 of the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston, but that didn’t mean the conclusion was quiet.
For those jostling for position around the fourth, fifth, and sixth range, it was close-quarters combat around the narrow NRG Park street circuit. And Charlie Kimball was right in the middle of it.
Kimball, Jack Hawksworth, and Juan Pablo Montoya fought each other tooth-and-nail and with it came several close calls.
Eventually, Hawksworth was able to grab third place after Will Power suffered an apparent suspension failure that relegated him to a finish outside the Top 10.
As for Kimball, he held on for fourth place, which is his best result since finishing on the podium (third) in Race 2 of the first 2014 doubleheader in Detroit.
It was also a good recovery from yesterday’s Race 1, which had Kimball collected by Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon in an incident at Turn 9.
“The Novo Nordisk team worked really hard last night to get the car fixed from yesterday’s sort of incidental contact that took us out yesterday,” Kimball told NBCSN.
“…It was pretty tough racing with Juan and the 98 car [Hawksworth] – I really enjoyed racing the 2 car [Montoya] – but at the end, to come home with a Top 5 and finish fourth, I’ll take that for sure. It was wheel-to-wheel and then some.”
As for dealing with the hot, humid conditions throughout the weekend in Houston, Kimball believed he held up well. He also hailed Houston race organizers for addressing the track issues that plagued their event last October.
“It was pretty hot – it’s the humidity that really gets you,” he said. “But overall, I feel really good…I’d be ready to go do it again tomorrow.
“We had a lot of fun. The track’s rubbering in – a lot of credit to the Shell/Pennzoil [Grand Prix of Houston], they did a lot of work since last year and made the track really raceable and a lot of fun for us.”