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'An unexpected paternity leave': How Charlie Kimball has kept occupied during IndyCar's pause
Via: Indianapolis Star
By: Nathan Brown
While other IndyCar drivers have been glued to their in-home simulators or struggled becoming eLearning teachers, Charlie Kimballs reality during the coronavirus pandemic is uniquely his.
Its falling asleep singing songs from Moana, waking up to watch DisneyNatures Elephant on repeat and trying not to feel left out while watching the weekly iRacing series events each Saturday all while taking care of a new baby son born 12 hours before he hopped on a plane for St. Petersburg in March.
In a normal race season, Gordon Kimballs entrance into the world March 11 was already going to present a complicated reality to adjust to for Charlie, his wife, Kathleen, and their 18-month-old daughter Hannah. Though the driver of the No. 4 car for A.J. Foyt Racing still wishes he could be racing in his return to full-season competition, life as a father of two with an unexpected, indefinite paternity leave has certainly had its pluses.
IndyCar driver Charlie Kimball and his wife, Kathleen, gave birth to their second child, Gordon, on March 11. (Photo: Provided by Kathleen Kimball)
Having time to be there for Kathleen, as a new mother again, and spending time with my daughter these weeks, her vocab has just exploded, and I think I would have missed some of that had I been on-and-off the road at the racetrack for races and testing these few months, he said. Dont get me wrong, I would rather be at the racetrack 100%, in the car and going to events, but with that not an option, being able to be part of my daughters growth and development and the first four, five or six weeks of my sons life is pretty special.
The initial plan for the Kimballs to help ease themselves into being a family of four involved Kimballs mother, Nancy, staying with the crew for more than a week after she and Charlies father, Gordon, traveled to St. Pete to watch their son in his inaugural race with his new team. Kathleens mother also lives near Indianapolis and had planned to be available for the young parents.
But as the news broke Thursday, while Charlie was en route to Florida after his familys exciting Wednesday, that fans wouldnt be allowed around the track for the weekends race, his parents quickly changed their flight to spend a couple of days with their new grandson before heading back to southern California where they own and manage their farm, Kimball Avocados.
The next day, Charlie was left scrambling himself, once news that St. Pete, along with Barber, Long Beach and Circuit of the Americas, had been postponed. But it wasnt until that following week, while he was sleep-deprived and no longer laser-focused planning for the next time hed step onto a racetrack again, that Kimballs new reality set in.Get the IndyStar Motor Sports newsletter in your inbox.
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I wasnt checking the long-term forecasts to see what the weather was going to be doing in Barber or Richmond for our tests, or the long-term one for Indy. Instead, I was checking in on the testing rates and infection rates and how people were managing their health in the long-term, he said. Thats when I realized Okay, were on pause. What can I do now to make sure that when we hit play again, that Im ready to go?
Like other drivers, Charlie Kimball has maintained his daily fitness routine. (Photo: Provided by Kathleen Kimball)
As the rest of the racing community has, hes stayed persistent with his daily fitness routine organized by PitFit, in between movies, naps and books, and he said hes kept the lines of communication with his engineering and crew members open on a near-daily basis. In whatever free time he can carve out, Kimballs been rewatching old races, going through notebooks full of old race reports and trying to reacquaint himself with some of the tracks he was away from during last years partial season with Carlin Racing.
Because whenever IndyCar does get started again, he knows its going to be at a breakneck pace and hes the only full-time series driver and one of the few drivers scheduled to compete in the series at all in 2020 who hasnt entered any of IndyCars iRacing Challenge events.
But while several dads in the series had solid excuses why they didnt jump-in initially, or why they havent been able to invest much time practicing during the week, Kimballs excuse for staying out of the sim-racing fray is plenty understandable.
Though it doesnt mean he hasnt been watching sometimes with four separate screens to listen to as many different driver streams as possible.
Ive never been an iRacing guy, never used sims outside the ones at Chevy and (Honda). And I dont have any equipment no seat, no pedals, no computer that would run iRacing, he said. So the financial and time investment to get set up wasnt insignificant, and with having my hands full with two kids under 18 months, if I was going to do it, I was going to make sure I was fully committed.
And I just wasnt willing to sacrifice all that.
18-month-old Hannah gives newborn Gordon a kiss. (Photo: Provided by Kathleen Kimball)
Because at night, when a bulk of the IndyCar drivers have been diving into sim-racing practices or unaffiliated races on the side, Kimball has started to see his family of four mesh and develop.
As part of our nighttime routine, we all go up as my daughter and I read books, and when we finish them and turn out the lights, (my wife and I) will say Night night, I love you, and well give her a kiss, Kimball said. And my daughter in the last couple weeks has started to give her brother kisses on the way out the door.
Seeing that connection between my son and daughter develop in the last couple weeks, incrementally, day-by-day, is something I would have missed.
The 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season will begin Saturday, June 6 with the Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. INDYCARs stars will take the green flag at 8:45 p.m. (ET), with broadcast coverage provided by NBC Sports via NBCSN.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, INDYCAR will run a condensed schedule with practice, qualifying and the race taking place on the same day. The event also will be conducted without fans in attendance. This will be the 24th consecutive year in which INDYCAR has raced at the 1.5-mile oval in Fort Worth, Texas.
Were excited and ready to kick off the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season at Texas Motor Speedway, INDYCAR President Jay Frye said. Weve worked closely with Eddie Gossage, the entire TMS team and public health officials on a plan of action that will ensure the safety of our event participants alongside an exciting return to competition for our drivers, teams and viewers tuning in from around the world.
America needs live sports and they are not going to believe what they see when the Genesys 300 storms into their living rooms on TV from Texas, said Eddie Gossage, president and general manager of Texas Motor Speedway. One of the worlds greatest sporting events, the Indy 500, has been postponed until August by coronavirus, so all of that pent-up energy, anticipation, frustrations and anxiety will be pounding through the drivers nervous systems. Typically, the Genesys 300 results in a 220-mph photo finish.
Other steps to protect the wellbeing of participants have been identified through close consultation with TMS and public health officials. These include:
Strict access guidelines limiting the number of personnel on site
A health screening system administered to all participants
PPE equipment provided to everyone entering the facility, along with guidelines on usage
Social distancing protocols in place and carefully maintained
Revised competition layout to increase distancing
To accommodate the one-day schedule, the length for the race at Texas Motor Speedway has been adjusted to 200 laps rather than the previously announced 248 laps. The full on-track schedule for the Genesys 300:
NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice: 1:30-3:30 p.m. (ET)
NTT INDYCAR SERIES Qualifications: 5 p.m. (ET)
Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway: 8:45 p.m. (ET)
The remainder of the updated, 15-race INDYCAR calendar for 2020, announced April 6, remains on schedule for competition.
Charlie and Kathleen are happy to announce the birth of their second child, Gordon Kimball on March 11th. He is happy and healthy, and enjoying Dad's unexpected paternity leave. His sister, Hannah loves him, and is always trying to share her pacifiers with him. Visit Facebook to see more photos and to keep up with the new family of 4!
DOUBLEHEADERS AT IOWA, LAGUNA SECA, THIRD EVENT AT IMS HIGHLIGHT UPDATED INDYCAR CALENDAR
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES announced several calendar updates today following the cancellation of the Detroit Grand Prix due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Two previously scheduled events will become doubleheaders along with the addition of a third weekend of racing at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
With these additions, there are 15 races on the 2020 INDYCAR calendar, an increase of one event from the 14 races announced March 26.
Were committed to bringing fans as much on-track action as possible, Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said. Our updated schedule features additional racing at fan-favorite venues and adds to the total number of events on our calendar. The COVID-19 situation continues to be dynamic and challenging for everyone, so we have developed contingency plans which will allow us to respond to changing conditions. Our goal is to preserve as much racing competition as possible while prioritizing the health and safety of our participants and spectators.
INDYCARs established events at Iowa Speedway and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca will become doubleheaders. The Iowa 300 event weekend will add a race Friday, July 17 along with the previously scheduled race Saturday, July 18. The Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey event weekend will now feature a race Saturday, Sept. 19 in addition to the previously scheduled race Sunday, Sept. 20.
Race fans also will be treated to a third INDYCAR event at the Racing Capital of the World, with the INDYCAR Harvest GP on the IMS road course taking place Saturday, Oct. 3. This event is in addition to the GMR Grand Prix, already scheduled for Saturday, July 4, and the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, Aug. 23.
Like our fans, were disappointed we wont be racing in Detroit this year, Miles said. However, were excited to return to Belle Isle in 2021 and know well put on a great show for everyone when we do. We also appreciate the flexibility and support of our event promoters at Iowa Speedway and Laguna Seca, who have enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to host doubleheaders.
An updated listing of green flag times and an NBC Sports broadcast schedule will be announced in the near future.
Below is the updated 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Schedule
By: Robin Miller
If Charlie Kimball seems an unlikely choice to try and kick start A.J. Foyts racing team, then consider the following: the son of famous engineer Gordon is technically savvy, he always runs well at the boss favorite track and he brings a very good and loyal sponsor.
As forecast a few weeks ago by RACER.com, Kimball was officially introduced Wednesday as the full-time driver of Foyts No. 4 car for the 2020 NTT IndyCar season.
Its a bit of a reset for us coming off a tough year and Charlie is a technical driver who comes from a great engineering family and always gets around the Speedway well so his drive matched with his experience should really help the No. 4 car, said team president Larry Foyt. I think Charlie is a fighter on the racetrack and can help us find those two-tenths we were missing last year.
Returning to a full-time driving role has been the primary goal of Kimballs off-season. Image by LAT
Kimball was a part-timer last season for Carlin and scored a pair of top 10s in his seven appearances in addition to being the lone member of the three-car effort to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. But the 34-year-old Californian, who will have Novo Nordisk as his primary sponsor for six races, knows part-timers are always driving uphill.
I would not have survived another year on a partial schedule because it was really rough on me watching those races when I wasnt in a car, he said. That consistency allows you to stay in rhythm but it always takes a moment or two to knock off that rust when you dont drive every race.
The level of competition is so high that any drawback puts you behind. Thats why Im excited to work hard and try and get back to where this team wants to be.
The 2019 season was a disaster for IndyCars oldest operation as Tony Kanaan finished 15th in the point standings and Matheus Leist was 19th. And longtime sponsor ABC Supply announced it would only be returning for the Indianapolis 500.
Kanaan managed one podium at Gateway while Leist took fourth at the Indy GP. Despite increased hours in the wind tunnel and seven-post shaker rig to try and hone their damper program, Foyt Racing just couldnt get things right on ovals or road racing.
IndyCar is so close, even when you feel like youre on back foot, youre not that far away, continued Foyt, who has hired Mike Colliver and Mike Pawlowski to try and shore up the engineering department. Once you get into season, its tough to dig yourself out of a hole if you head down the wrong path.
A lot of people talk about shock absorbers right now in IndyCar and thats somewhere we did some pretty extensive testing last year, thinking it was the right direction. A lot of times we felt we showed well in our off-track testing and when we got to the track it seemed like that was the right way to go. But then as the track rubbered up, all of the sudden youre not where you need to be. You thought you were in a good place and now youre behind.
An example was the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where Kanaan was just as quick as polesitter Ed Carpenter and eventual winner Will Power in 2018 before getting a flat tire. Other teams gained last May and we hadnt, reasoned Foyt.
Its no secret that Indys first-four-time winner and all-time winning driver only has eyes for 16th & Georgetown and thats been Kimballs best track in his 10-year career as hes finished third, fifth, eighth and ninth.
With that Bow Tie on the engine over there is no reason we cant be talking about qualifying in the top 12 or Fast 9 shootout being a part of that hunt for the pole is definitely on my radar, said Kimball, who for the 12th consecutive year will be sponsor by Novo Nordisk.
Foyt said the line-up for the No. 14 car is still a work in progress, but RACERs Marshall Pruett reported that Sebastien Bourdais will likely run the first four races while Kanaan takes all the ovals and rookie Dalton Kellett drives the final seven road/street shows.
INDIANAPOLIS Charlie Kimball and A.J. Foyt Racing are taking a chance on each other, and that could make the newest full-time IndyCar driver-team pairing for the 2020 season a perfect fit.
Both will find out soon enough.
Wednesday morning, the open-wheel racing titan and his namesake team announced Kimball, the nine-year IndyCar veteran, as its full-season driver behind the Chevy-powered No. 4 car for the 17-race 2020 season.
Coincidentally, both last reached victory lane back in 2013 Foyt with Takuma Sato at Long Beach, and Kimball a couple months later at Mid-Ohio. In the seven years since, both have been on a long, winding road they hope will lead to consistency in 2020.
Culture, it starts at the top, and with A.J., hes a racers racer. When youre the first four-time winner of the Indy 500, that legacy is the core of the team and what the enterprise is built upon, Kimball said. We all want to be better, want to do better, want more out of our results, and the last couple years, I think everyone in the No. 4 and No. 14 programs would tell you they want more.
But since Ive started working with the engineers, they want to be better, want to be faster, want to have better results, and Ive been impressed with that motivation.
Plans for Foyts No. 14 car, which has been longtime veteran Tony Kanaans seat the past two seasons, are still in the works.
Kimball building momentum after strong Portland showing
By: Marshall Pruett | September 3, 2019 10:22 AM
As Carlin Racings Charlie Kimball can attest, sometimes a 10th-place finish feels like a podium. The NTT IndyCar Series veteran was thrust into the No. 23 Chevy for the Portland Grand Prix, and in a result thats typical of the Californians career, he turned a poor day of qualifying into something positive. Motoring from 23rd to 10th, Kimball produced Carlins top performance on Sunday which, under normal circumstances, wouldnt be cause for celebration. However, 2019 has been anything but normal for Trevor Carlins outfit.
As the British team nears the end of its sophomore season, its faced constant change in the cockpit as six drivers have rotated in an out of its seats, missed qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 with two of its three entries, lost Patricio OWard to the Japanese Super Formula series, had lead driver Max Chilton cut the remaining ovals from his calendar, and made a midseason engineering change on one of its cars.o
To have Kimball making steady improvement late in the season, and Chilton, who ran in the top 10 late in the race until falling to 11th, showing well at Portland speaks to the resilience of the Carlin team and its drivers.
Im just happy for these guys because all year they put so much effort in, Kimball told RACER. I see it when Im not in the car almost as much or more than when I am behind the wheel because theyre one of the last ones to leave every day. Theyre the first ones here every day. Qualifying was tough for us. Part of that was my not being on a road course since Sonoma last year. Part of that is just getting up to speed and getting going. Once we got there, we got up front. I made a couple of mistakes after the second restart, lost a few spots, but then, it was just metronomic.
Its nice to really shake all the rust clear before we get down to Laguna for a double points race. Not that were in the points championship, but points are always good. It was honestly, it just came down to strategy, great pit stops, giving me the fuel number and me being able to hit it. Of course we want to be talking about podiums and wins, but were pleased with the progress weve been making. Such things do not happen overnight.
The nine-year IndyCar veteran will complete the season having contested seven of the 17 races on the schedule, and is actively working to make a full-time return in 2020. Longtime sponsor Novo Nordisk, and new energy optimization partner ripKurrent, could play significant roles in helping the 34-year-old achieve his goals as he explores business-to-business relationships in the paddock.
Were working hard with our partners towards next year, he said. The ripKurrent guys had so much fun being with us at Gateway. They were so enthusiastic. The result, we were knocking on the door of the top 10. They just loved it. I think with their business model and some of the business opportunities within the IndyCar product, some of the big energy consumption people like Preferred Freezer on the Ed Carpenter cars, I recently went, Oh, I should introduce those guys to them.
Theres just some big energy consumption brands within the sport. Maybe NTT Data and some of their server sites. I think the more I can give them a business reason to back up their enthusiasm, theyre already talking about what next year looks like. Novo Nordisk is talking about next year. Carlin talked about next year. Honestly, at Portland, I was just focused on trying to find my feet again, but beyond that, its working to create the best  season possible for myself and my sponsors.
Racing driver Charlie Kimball has qualified for the 2019 Indianapolis 500, which will be run on Sunday, May 26. Hell be starting in Row Seven, with a four-lap qualifying speed average of 227.915 mph. But that might not be the most impressive fact about Charlie Kimballs racing career. Charlie Kimball races with a disability type 1 diabetes, a condition that he must monitor daily. Kimball is the first licensed IndyCar driver with type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, the hormone needed to allow glucose to enter cells to produce energy. Type 1 diabetes currently has no cure. It is treated by managing blood sugar levels with insulin, diet and lifestyle. It usually appears during childhood or adolescence, and was once known as juvenile diabetes. Kimball was diagnosed with the condition when he was 22, a little later than normal, and has been working with his doctors and trainers since 2007 to maintain his health and fitness.
I got back into a race car three months after my diagnosis, Kimball said during a phone interview. My first race after diagnosis was six months later, and I finished second.
Kimball has developed systems to manage his blood sugar levels during races. I use a continuous glucose monitor that is connected to my cars dash, so all my data is in one place, he said. Tire pressure, gas and glucose levels all show up on his cars monitors. He also has a special hydration system. Most race car drivers use a water bottle to keep them hydrated during races, which can last three plus hours. I have two water bottles, one with regular water, the other with orange juice with added sugar. Kimballs fathers expertise came in handy. I worked with my dad, who is a mechanical engineer, to create a special valve for these two bottles, and we 3D printed it, he said. It connects to my seat belt, and with a flick of a switch, I can adjust my glucose level depending on which water bottle I select.
Kimball uses Tresiba and Fiasp insulins, products from one of his racing sponsors, Novo Nordisk. Weve been working together on the Race With Insulin program for a total of 11 race seasons, he said. I spent two years representing them for Indy Lights, and this is our ninth season in IndyCar. Its great to be able to represent the diabetes community on the racetrack, and to inspire people to do anything they want to do in life.
Kimball maintains a rigorous training schedule to maintain his physical and mental fitness for racing. I work with a gym called PitFit Training in Indianapolis, he said. They train race car drivers almost exclusively. The biggest change in my fitness regimen since my diagnosis is how I prepare for a workout, as various workouts affect my blood sugar differently.
He works with an exercise physiologist, David Ferguson from the Department of Kinesiology at Michigan State University. Weve been working together for 10 years, said Kimball. He examines physiological data and blood sugar data from my racecar, and has narrowed down the ideal blood glucose level for me to get into the racecar. In addition, Kimball works on his reaction-based timing, as IndyCar drivers must deal with events that occur at 200-plus mph as they navigate the traffic on the track.
Away from the track, Kimballs diabetes still must be managed every day. He relies on his wife, Kathleen, who is very tuned in to his condition. She can just look at me and tell if my blood sugar is low, he said. The family also has a secret weapon Lilah, the Labrador retriever. When we first adopted her, she was looking for jobs to do barking at anyone who came to the door, or rearranging our garden, he said. Really, we think she was just bored, so we enrolled her in school and thats when we discovered that she could be trained as a diabetic alert dog. Now, Lilah is part of Kimballs diabetes management toolkit. If my blood sugar is getting low, she comes up and pokes me in the leg with her nose, he said. She is also trained to alert my wife if Im not responsive. As a black Lab, shes very food-motivated. And she knows if she accurately alerts me to low blood sugar, she gets a really good treat.
Kimball became the first driver with diabetes to win an IndyCar race when he took the checkered flag in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio in August 2013. In that same year, he won his first Rolex 24 at Daytona, driving for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates with teammates Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Juan Pablo Montoya. His best finish to date in the Indianapolis 500 came in 2015, when he finished third. Look for Charlie Kimball in Sundays race in the Number 23 Fiasp Carlin Chevrolet, starting in the middle of Row Seven.
Speedy awards: 'Excuse me, coming through' net positions gained
At the end of September, the Verizon IndyCar Series handed out its season awards at its Victory Lap event in Indianapolis. But IndyCar.com isnt finished distributing the special, hard-earned honors we're calling the Speedy Awards.
We've been diving deep into the analytics of the 2018 season to find the driver who had the best year according to the loads of data gathered by INDYCAR's elaborate timing and scoring computers at every event. Analysis of raw loop data helps us decide the winners of several awards. The driver with the most Speedy Awards at the end of this series will be crowned the Speedy "Driver of the Year."
To read more, please click here.
[caption id="attachment_5086" align="aligncenter" width="626"] Photo courtesy of LAT Photo USA[/caption]
Charlie and Kathleen Kimball are pleased to announce the birth of their first child, Hannah Kimball. Visit Facebook to see more photos and write a note to the new family of three.
[caption id="attachment_5081" align="aligncenter" width="626"] Photo courtesy of Nathaniel Edmunds Photography[/caption]
What do a former Victoria's Secret model and an Indy racer have in common?
Modeling, racing, and coding. What do they have in common? Well, 4-H is a community trying to get kids excited about coding by teaching them how to animate their own names, with the help of prominent figures. We went to check out their National Youth Science Day event to see how they are inspiring kids to shape their future with some lines of code.
To watch the video, please click here.
It was on the hibachi grill earlier this week that I learned how it felt to run a re-start in the Indianapolis 500.
There I was, focused on the task of the spatula in my hand when I saw the shrimp in my peripheral vision. There, on my outside, in a sliver of space barely fit for a chopstick, appeared Alexander Rossi, turning my grills vegetarian delicacy into a crustacean cuisine.
To read more, please click here.
[caption id="attachment_5071" align="aligncenter" width="450"] Photo via INDYCAR[/caption]