Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda driver Charlie Kimball says the repaving work on the 1.25-mile oval at Gateway Motorsports Park will create a great race for the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Kimball turned the first ceremonial laps on the new track surface that track owner and CEO Curtis Francois called for following several instances of cut tires during the IndyCar test in early May.
After driving a Honda Accord street car around the track in Madison, Ill., Kimball told IndyCar.com: “I think it's awesome. The investment made to repave and update the surface is significant.
“The fact that we're coming back in August to a much smoother racetrack than we tested on is going to create a lot better racing for Verizon IndyCar Series cars under the lights."
The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline, to be held on Aug. 25-26 will be the first time IndyCar has raced on the egg-shaped oval in 14 years.
Kimball, who took his first IndyCar pole at Texas Motor Speedway this year, stated: “To be able to compete under the lights in August on a Saturday night on a short track like Gateway is going to be fantastic.
"I think the way Turn 1 and Turn 3 are so very different is going to lead to an incredible event and the new asphalt will only add to that.”
Kimball’s teammates Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan competed in the last Gateway IndyCar race in 2003, an event won by current Penske-Chevrolet driver Helio Castroneves, just ahead of Kanaan.