Charlie Kimball Is An IndyCar Winner!
Team Penske’s Will Power was fourth followed by Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport.
IndyCar Series points leader Helio Castroneves finished sixth but that was one spot better than pre-race favorite Dixon, who was attempting to win at Mid-Ohio for the fifth time since 2007 and his third in a row.
That allowed Castroneves to increase his points lead from 29 to 31 over Dixon.
“If you would have told me we would have finished in the top-10 today, I would have said you were crazy,” Castroneves said. “We made great strategy calls throughout the race. Working with Mr. Penske (team owner Roger) is awesome; he relays great information over the radio. It was a great day for our PPG Automotive Refinish Chevrolet. I know that it was only a sixth place finish but it could win the Championship at the end of the year. I have said all along that we will continue to do our thing and not change a thing and it will pay off at the end of the day.”
Entering the race, every time Dixon was reminded of his streak of three wins in a row this season and four wins since 2007 at Mid-Ohio, he kept saying, “You’re jinxing me.”
Afterwards, Dixon didn’t blame the performance on any jinxes.
“We stuck with the two-stop strategy too long,” Dixon lamented. “Typically it’s ok but with Will Power it was so inconsistent so Charlie made the right move because the pace was too slow. That put us in a hole and we reacted the wrong way and that put us in a deeper hole. From that point on we were trying to get ourselves out of it and by that point it was too late. Helio was able to come back and get points. We are still in the hunt and that is what we have to try to do. It wasn’t the points day we were looking for. We didn’t mix it up enough. The pace was far too slow. We got out of the hole prematurely and that put us in another hole stuck behind other cars.”
“Huge credit to Charlie. He was able to bounce back from a big crash earlier this weekend. It was a good deal for Charlie and the whole G2 team, really. For Charlie to get a win at Mid-Ohio is pretty cool. They stuck to a three-stopper and that is the way to pull it.”
And the ability to pull it out was based on the Kimball’s Dallara/Honda and its ability to go fast rather than save fuel.
“We knew that with the speed that we had in the car, if we could run flat out ‑ and this place, the way race control is running the races, we had the opportunity to go green all day,” Kimball said. “And you weren’t going to get the yellows to make a two‑stop work.
“So I think we kind of played it right and made the call when we needed to make the call for the win, but we had it strongly in our mind that we were going to run‑three‑stop race and it only just solidified that when the guys up front were running slower and slower and slower, and we could go out and make hay when we needed to.”
While the other drivers were committed to a three-stop race. The pace of the race played perfectly into Kimball’s favor as he would lead three times for 46 laps in the first caution-free race since last year’s Mid-Ohio contest.
Just like Kimball’s journey finally got him to Victory Lane the same could be said about Goldberg.
“I remember in high school, being in the National Honor Society, and true story, on the evening of excellence when you’re getting ready to graduate, they said ‘What do you want to do?’ And I said ‘Be a race car engineer,’” Goldberg said.
Dixon is 31 points behind Castroneves, who has a 65-point lead over Ryan Hunter-Reay. Marco Andretti is fourth in the standings, 76 points back and Pagenaud is fifth, 103 points out of the lead with five races remaining.
Kimball’s “Journey” has taken him to victory lane but his journey as an IndyCar Series driver is far from over.
“I think as far as timing, I talked about the growth of not just the team, but also the growth of me as a driver, and I think it’s right on the time frame that Chip laid out for us; that we had a clear understanding going into the first year that it was a sort of figure it out, see if the program was going to work,” Kimball recalled. “And with the expansion program, we knew that the second year, this year, was going to be the year to start winning and start putting the results on the board and start getting inside the Top‑10 in points.
“To be able to validate those sort of trajectories has been really nice. I think if we get the win or we don’t today, I think this year has proven that. Getting a win quiets a lot of voices, for sure, especially voices within myself as a driver. Because as a driver, you’d like to win in your first race, right. That’s, again, I don’t think any of the drivers up and down pit lane are here to finish second. So to be able to come out and validate it to ourselves is a good thing and I think builds momentum for not just the rest of the season, but the next few years.”
And Kimball has come a long way from when he received the grim news that would forever change his life.
“Getting diagnosed actually in 2007, I remember that day being pretty dark,” Kimball said. “And today is pretty bright.”