WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Scott Dixon’s Chip Ganassi Racing car is sponsored by Target.
Charlie Kimball’s Chip Ganassi Racing car was one Sunday at Watkins Glen International.
Kimball’s No. 83 Tresiba Chevrolet was in the eye of the storm for the majority of Sunday’s INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen presented by Hitachi, after being involved in the two heaviest incidents of the Verizon IndyCar Series race.
Kimball started 14th and ended sixth but it was what occurred in-between the 60 laps of the race made for quite a day.
On Lap 20, Kimball was to the outside of Graham Rahal, with the two making contact on corner exit of Turn 1. Rahal slid up the road into Kimball, who was to his outside, before then careening back into the inside tire barrier.
Rahal was less than pleased. “Kimball decided to not give me any room on the exit. Probably the hardest hit I’ve taken in my life. But I have to take blame too. I shouldn’t have put myself in that position. I should know better than to race him like that,” he told NBCSN during the broadcast.
Kimball told NBCSports.com post-race, “I didn’t think we had a lot of contact with Graham. I felt like I gave him plenty of room around the inside, I was focused on the exit because really the big passing opportunity especially with a restart like that was up the hill into the Bus Stop.”
But he pressed on. Unfortunately he was caught up in the race’s biggest moment when he and Will Power collided as they came up the Esses.
Kimball had a monster run on Power, and Power moved up, perhaps not realizing that Kimball was there. It sent Power into the Armco barrier on driver’s left of corner exit. Although he was checked and released, Power has not been cleared to drive owing to concussion-like symptoms.
“We came up the hill and everyone else that I passed I got to the left, and everyone stayed right to block, and Will – it’s like he had no idea I was there, because he just kept following I think the 26 car over, and ran me onto the grass, and when I bounced off the grass I bounced into him,” Kimball said. “I was sorry to have gotten into him but frankly if he’d have known I was there, I know he wouldn’t have run me off the road.”
Kimball expanded on the notion that Power must not have seen him.
“Oh yeah, for sure. Everyone else when I got the run down the hill… the way the momentum is in these cars, you’ve got to get the momentum up the hill and then because the crown in the road is so big up that straight, you kind of pick either lane,” he said.
“Well everyone else when I got to the left of coming around that right-hander, Turn 4 I guess it is, they stayed left. Will, it’s like he had no idea I was there. He kept following the 26 up and I went in the run-off, there’s a little bit of paved run-off, and when it ended I bounced off the grass and hit him. It’s like he didn’t know I was there, because I know if he’d known I was there, he’d have just run down the inside.
“Absolutely, because everyone else I had followed and passed up the hill stayed right for the Bus Stop.”
Kimball unofficially sits ninth in points heading to the Verizon IndyCar Series’ season finale at Sonoma Raceway in two weeks, at a track where he finished on the podium last year.