HOUSTON, Texas (October, 7 2013) – Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing (NNCGR) driver Charlie Kimball finished 11th in Round 17 and eighth in Round 18 of the IZOD IndyCar Series at the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston on the Streets of Houston.
Race 1 – Saturday, October 5 Race 1 of the doubleheader weekend began with a standing start, where Kimball lined-up from the outside of row eight in 16th position. Upon the green flag, the initial standing start was aborted due to the No. 83 stalled on the grid. Shortly after, Kimball reported to pit lane that the No. 83 car’s clutch was failing, and the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team relayed they would be forced to push-start at the conclusion of each pit stop to get the car in gear. As the field went to re-grid for its second attempt at a standing start, Kimball lined-up at the rear in 24th position due to the stall. As the second standing start initiated, the course immediately fell to caution for contact made with a stalled car on grid. On lap four, Kimball was called to pit lane during the caution for his first pit stop of the race to check on the No. 83 and top-off on fuel. Four laps later, the NovoLog FlexPen car returned for a second stop to make a steering-wheel change in effort to address the clutch.
As cars came to pit lane for their first stops and others experienced mechanical issues, Kimball worked his way up the field to enter the top-10 by lap 28. Through the course of the event, the No. 83 team would head to pit lane a total of five times, and continued to battle to the top-10. Following his final stop on lap 68, Kimball worked his way back to 10th to eventually sit in the top-10 for more than half the race (for a total of 50 laps). With only seven laps remaining, the No. 98 overtook the No. 83 for 10th position, dropping the No. 83 to an 11th place result.
With the result in Round 17, Kimball moved from 10th position to a tie for ninth in the IZOD IndyCar Series point standings with 382 markers, -131 points behind leader Helio Castroneves.
Race 2 – Sunday, October 6 The starting grid of Race 2 was set by entrant points, in accordance of the IZOD IndyCar Series rulebook, as a rainstorm washed out the 30-minute morning qualifying session. Opening the race from the inside of row five, in 10th position, the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team put tire strategy to use in the second leg of the doubleheader weekend and spent the race on primary tires for longer stints to run on a two-stop strategy. As the initial standing start was aborted, Kimball lined-up in the same spot for the second attempt and held ground in 10th position through the first green lap. Kimball remained in the top-10 for the first 26 laps until he made his first pit stop for primary tires and fuel from 14th position. A caution was flagged two laps later where several cars came to pit lane and the No. 83 began to rotate back to the front of the field.
Through the course of the 90-lap race, Kimball avoided incidents and managed to stay clean through nine caution periods, totaling 26 laps, and spent the majority of the race in the top-10 for a total of 66-laps. Kimball settled in the ninth spot on lap 62 and remained there for the subsequent 27 laps until taking the car to eighth in the final lap to score his ninth top-10 of the season.
With the result in Round 18, Kimball moved from a tie in ninth position to 10th in the IZOD IndyCar Series point standings with 406 markers, -140 points behind leader Scott Dixon.
Following the results of Races 1 and 2, Honda remains tied with Chevrolet in the manufacturer point standings (135 points).
NOTES - After falling back to the rear of the field in 24th position upon the first failed standing start in Race 1, the No. 83 team gained 13 positions overall to finish 11th. -Kimball’s finish in Race 2 of the doubleheader weekend marked his ninth top-10 finish of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season and the 17th top-10 of his Indy car career. -Kimball now has top-10 finishes in half (nine of the 18) of the IZOD IndyCar Series races this season. -Following Race 1 and 2, Kimball has now been in the top-10 of IZOD IndyCar Series point standings eight times this season and has spent nine of the 18 rounds there in 2013. -The conclusion of Race 2 marked the fifth-consecutive race all three team Ganassi drivers ended a round in the top-10 in points this season. Dario Franchitti holds eighth (-128), Kimball is 10th (-140) and Dixon leads with 546.
Charlie Kimball, Race 1: “It was another fighting run for the No. 83 car. I don’t think anyone can say that the NovoLog FlexPen crew doesn’t dig deep and fight hard, so a lot of credit to them. They gave me the information I needed to overcome the problems we had on the starts. To come back and end up nearly in the top-10 like we did, I’m pretty happy with that. We have a pretty fast race car so I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s race. I’m really happy for the guys on the No. 9 car for tightening up the Championship battle, as well as, for Honda in getting one step closer to the manufacturer title.”
Charlie Kimball, Race 2: “Obviously, we’re thinking about all the guys involved in that last corner accident. Not just the drivers, but the fans and the safety team. Hopefully, everyone is okay. Overall, it was a pretty good race for the No. 83 car. We had clean stops, a good race pace and we just tried to be smart with it. Now we’re going to focus as much as we can heading into Fontana and another 500-mile race to end the season strong.”