Type 1 Diabetes Can’t Keep INDYCAR Driver Kimball Down
Ganassi teammates shake down IndyCars at Auto Club Speedway
SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (Feb. 17, 2012) – Growing up in Camarillo, Calif., it was nice for Charlie Kimball to be “home” again.
Kimball, who is the first licensed driver with diabetes in the history of IndyCar, was behind the wheel of his No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Honda and teammate Graham Rahal piloted his No. 38 Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing Honda in a closed IZOD IndyCar Series test Wednesday and Thursday at Auto Club Speedway. The series readies for its return to Southern California’s premier motorsports facility after a seven year absence on Sept.15 under the lights.
“I’m excited to be back home,” Kimball said. “I haven’t been here since 1998 when I would come as a kid and sit on top of our motor home in Turn 2 and watch the races. It’s cool to be back.”
Kimball, who now resides in Indianapolis, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2007. After only a few short months away from the track, Kimball returned to the cockpit in 2008 and claimed a podium finish in his first race back in the car in the Formula 3 Euroseries. He’s back and feeling good.
“I’m feeling good and have everything (the diabetes) under control right now,” said Kimball, who finished 13th in last year’s Indianapolis 500. “While I’m here in California, I have a couple of doctors appointments to make sure everything is good before we start the season. Diabetes has not slowed me down!”
For the first time in seven years, the thrill, excitement and speed of the IICS will return to the Speedway where the world speed record for the fastest lap of 241.428 mph was set in 2000 – and still stands today. For both Kimball and Rahal that 241 mph is a mark they’d like to eclipse.
“These cars are still in their infancy,” said Rahal. “I don’t think we’ll get to those speeds. I wish we did but these cars are in the development stage right now so it’s still a learning process for all the drivers.”
The IZOD IndyCar Series season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Fla.) is scheduled for March 25.