SBRS: Charlie Kimball stays sharp between rounds

Californian Charlie Kimball finds the Midwest to his liking. The Barber-CART Karting Scholarship winner followed his progressive results in Rounds 7 and 8 of the Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER at Indianapolis ...

Californian Charlie Kimball finds the Midwest to his liking. The Barber-CART Karting Scholarship winner followed his progressive results in Rounds 7 and 8 of the Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER at Indianapolis Raceway Park with a dominant performance at the June Sprints presented by Kohler at Road America. In only his second visit to Elkhart Lake and second race in a Formula Ford, the 17-year old racer proved quickest in qualifying and strongest among a 32-car field that included multiple National Champion John LaRue. Kimball claimed his second consecutive clean sweep in a Formula Ford by virtue of his pole position, fastest race lap, and race win running under the PR1 Motorsports tent under the direction of Bobby Oergel.

The first year racecar driver is making a successful transition from karting. He also appears to be making the most of his time between National Championship rounds. And as a result of his two strong drives at IRP, Kimball may have found the newfound confidence he'll need for the balance of the National Championship season. His focus was immediately evident during the qualifying session and set the table for a strong race.

"In qualifying, you really show what you’re made of, and how fast you can go without a draft or someone to chase down,” said the Californian. He continued,“ I was pleased with the car but looked to make it competitive for the whole 13 laps of the race."

But the victory was anything but a given. Although Kimball started on pole and was hoping to get a clean start, the plan changed dramatically as he went through the gravel trap on the exit of turn-1 and fell out of contention. After dropping to 15th place, he regrouped and settled into a rhythm of fast laps, passing people at near-will. As he moved into third place, Kimball caught a huge break as the track went full-course yellow for an incident in Canada Corner. He then caught the leaders under yellow and slotted into second on the restart. With two laps to go, Kimball passed LaRue on the front straight for the lead but had to fight off another challenge for the point. He was ultimately successful, able to establish position on the run out of the Carousel.

Despite his miscue early, Kimball gamely kept it together.

"I just made a rookie mistake, but I put it behind me and tried to race as clean as possible from then onward. It is much easier to learn from a mistake like that when you come back to win."

Look for him to carry momentum over as the National Championship resumes at the Mont Tremblant circuit for Rounds 9 and 10 in Quebec, Canada on August 2-4, 2002.

-cart/barber-

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Charlie Kimball , Skip Barber , John LaRue