Charlie Kimball takes first career IndyCar pole in Texas (VIDEO)

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Charlie Kimball secured his first career Verizon IndyCar Series pole on Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, knocking off teammate Scott Dixon in qualifying for Saturday night’s Rainguard Water Sealers 600 (8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Kimball’s average speed over two laps clocked in at 222.556 mph, narrowly eclipsing Dixon’s average of 222.516 mph.

For Kimball, it his his first pole in 109 career IndyCar starts, his previous best being second at the 2016 INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. It is also the 89th pole for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“I’m really excited to be on pole. The guys totally deserve it,” said an ecstatic Kimball. “Everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing has been working so hard and the boys have had my back all year long through the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s so nice to be able to repay them with a pole position here at Texas Motor Speedway. The No. 83 Tresiba Honda was really good right out of the box and (engineer Todd (Malloy) made a few adjustments that made it better during the course of practice. During qualifying we just took a swing at it and went out and got the job done.”

All four of Chip Ganassi’s cars flexed their muscle during qualifying at Texas, with Dixon qualifying second (his fourth front row appearance in nine races), Tony Kanaan qualifying fourth, and Max Chilton qualifying sixth.

Alexander Rossi qualified third for Andretti Autosport while Tristan Vautier qualified an impressive fifth on his return with Dale Coyne Racing. This matches Rossi’s best career start (Indianapolis 500) while Vautier has a career-best on ovals (was 10th in 2013) but not overall (third at Barber in 2013).

The top eight qualifying speeds all came from Honda powered cars. Will Power (ninth, for Verizon Team Penske) was the best of Chevrolet runners.

Of note: qualifying speeds were up significantly from 2016 on the newly repaved and reconfigured Texas Motor Speedway. Kimball’s pole speed of 222.556 mph came in at over five miles per hour faster than Carlos Munoz’s 2016 pole speed of 217.137 mph. In total, 18 cars turned an average speed that was faster than last year’s pole mark.

Times are below. Per NBCSN’s qualifying coverage, Carlos Munoz did not make a qualifying attempt after failing to make it through technical inspection in time. Final practice for the Rainguard Water Sealers 600 will roll off tonight at 6:45 p.m. ET.

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Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list; Musquin remains out

Shimoda injured
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
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Bad news continues to come out of the Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki team as they announced Jo Shimoda injured his shoulder in a practice session and will not mount up when the Monster Energy Supercross 250 East division opens in Houston, Texas on February 4. A timetable has not been given for Shimoda’s return, but a press release from the team references multiple weeks.

“I’m doing my best to focus forward on my return to racing,” said Shimoda in the release. “Our goal was to compete for the 250 Supercross Eastern Regional Championship and I know we had been doing the right work to make that happen. Unfortunately, this crash will cause me to miss the start of the season, but I still aim to be back on the track racing for wins before the end of Supercross.”

Shimoda is joined on the sidelines by teammates Seth Hammaker and Austin Forkner, who also suffered injuries in recent weeks.

The news of Hammaker’s sidelining came just two days ago. His wrist injury is sufficient to require surgery, so he too will miss multiple weeks. Hammaker was scheduled to compete in the 250 East division alongside Shimoda.

Forkner was involved in a Lap 1 crash in the 250 West season opener at Anaheim. Multiple injuries, including an ACL tear, will sideline him for the remainder of the season. He described the injury and its aftermath on Instagram.

Forkner will be relieved by Carson Mumford, but not before that rider’s wrist has healed sufficiently. He is scheduled to debut with Kawasaki in Oakland for the rescheduled Round 2 Supercross race on February 18.

Shimoda finished fourth in the 2022 Supercross 250 West division and was second in 2021 points in 250 East. In 2021, Shimoda won his first Supercross race at Salt Lake City. Last year, he scored one podium and six top-fives in nine starts.

Shimoda finished second in last year’s outdoor Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, where he added two more SuperMotocross wins including the Unadilla Nationals that kicked off a four-race streak of first- or second-place results.

Kawasaki is not the only team facing injury. Red Bull KTM initially reported Marvin Musquin would be out for the San Diego round with a wrist injury and “maybe more”. This week it was announced he will miss this week’s Triple Crown race in Anaheim and “at least the next several rounds.”