After securing Carlin‘s best results of their Verizon IndyCar Series career in Detroit, Charlie Kimball and Max Chilton, have expressed how proud they are of the team. The British squad had a tough time of things in the first race of the weekend on Saturday but bounced back solidly to get their drivers to eighth and eleventh place when the chequered flag flew on Sunday.
Heading into the 2018 Chevrolet Duel in Detroit, Carlin was hoping for a solid set of results to further continue the process of getting up to speed in IndyCar. The weekend started off on a high note, with Max Chilton qualified a superb tenth place. However, his team-mate Charlie Kimball would qualify all the way down in twenty-second.
Race one would sadly fail to yield a positive result for the team. After his great qualifying position, Chilton would sadly slip down the order due to an ill-fated fuel strategy, eventually finishing in twentieth place. Things had been looking up for Kimball, with the American making up places throughout the race. However, an incident with rookie Santino Ferrucci saw Kimball awarded a drive-through penalty for causing an avoidable incident. Kimball appeared to rear-end Ferrucci in the braking zone for seven.
Despite the stewards awarding him the penalty, Kimball seemed to apportion some of the blame on Ferrucci’s inexperience, a comment that would attract some anger from fans on social media after the race.
“I’m really proud of the effort by the Carlin boys today,” Kimball said on Saturday, “The No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet was good, we had great pit stops and we made great fuel mileage.
“I got caught out on contact with a rookie [Ferrucci]. Honestly, that one was on me, because I expected him to be a little more consistent than he was. With a rookie, I should’ve given him more benefit of a doubt. I feel badly for the team on that front, but the good thing about the Dual in Detroit is that we get to come back and try again tomorrow. We’ll try and qualify a little higher up, so we don’t have to fight quite as hard in the back to get back up front.”
After his poor finish in the first race, Chilton was disappointed but optimistic that the team were heading in the right direction for a future upturn in form, saying: “While we aren’t where we need to be yet, we’re seeing more and more progress being made every race. We’re excited to get back out there tomorrow, and we’ll hope to have a similar qualifying effort but a different race result.”
Tricky wet weather conditions greeted the pair in qualifying for the race on Sunday. Neither driver was able to break into the top ten, with Chilton qualifying seventeenth ahead of Kimball in twenty-first.
The race, however, was much better. Both drivers avoided incidents and the team avoided any potential strategy mishaps. Both Kimball and Chilton worked their way through the midfield well, which was impressive as the race stayed green for virtually the entire racing, meaning that every position made was due to pace or pit-strategy.
By the end of the race, both drivers found themselves fighting for a top ten finish. Kimball would pass Chilton for position in the closing stages and would go to advance a few more positions before the chequered flag. He would end the race in eighth place, the best result for Carlin in IndyCar so far and the team’s second-ever top ten finish.
“I’m really proud of the resiliency of this Carlin team.” Kimball said after race two, “We didn’t get the job done all that well this morning in qualifying, but we had a nice clean race, good solid pit stops, and a really good strategy.
“It felt like I raced pretty cleanly and we had good pace in clean air, which helped us get good mileage when we needed to. I’m just so happy for the No. 23 car guys for getting a top-eight finish today. With Max (Chilton) coming home in the top 11 today, hopefully, we can get both of us into the top 10 in Texas next weekend.”
As Kimball mentioned, it was so nearly a double top-ten finish for Carlin on Sunday. After being passed by Charlie, Chilton made a small mistake and allowed a couple of cars to get past. He tried to recover as best he could, but he could not quite get his #59 Chevrolet back into the top ten. He would finish eleventh; his best finish of the season far.
“We had more pace today than we had yesterday and the team had really great stops every time we came in,” Max said, “I think I did the best mileage that I’ve done in my entire career by them telling me the fuel number and me sticking to it.
“Unfortunately, Charlie [Kimball] got me in the last stint and then I was in the marbles and was passed by a few others. We then had their pace and got one back, but it dropped us just out of the top 10. This has been a positive afternoon for the team as a whole, though, and we’ll concentrate, moving forwards, on getting both cars in the top 10.”
With progress looking to continue with every road and street course race, Carlin’s next objective will be to transfer their decent running to the oval races. The team struggled in the first two oval races at ISM Raceway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. They will be hoping to show signs of improvement in this weekend’s race, the DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway, that takes place on Saturday, June 9.