Kimball: “Iowa like flying fighter jets in a gymnasium”

3 Mins read
Credit: NTT Indycar Series

Charlie Kimball, driver of the AJ Foyt Racing number four car, says he’s looking forward to the challenge of the upcoming Iowa double-header after good results in last weekend’s pair of Road America races.

In an exclusive interview with The Checkered Flag, the 35-year-old Californian said racing under the lights at the Iowa Speedway short track adds to the spectacle of the NTT Indycar Series.

He said: “At Texas we started really well, raced in the top eight all night long. I’ve never got the results I wanted at Iowa but having Tony (Kanaan) to learn from as a multi-time winner at Iowa will be really helpful for me.

“If I can qualify in the top twelve and race in the top ten all night and get a good result for the team, build momentum and keep the car in shape, then we’ll be in good shape.

“Physically it’s challenging but that’s why we train and why we do this, the mental challenge will be tougher at Iowa. It’s really unforgiving and a bull ring, it’s bumpy, rough, the tyres go off. There’s a lot to manage at Iowa so I think I’ll be pretty worn out driving home on Sunday.

A new look for all drivers, Kimball sports his own #4 branded face mask while in the paddock. Credit: NTT Indycar Series.

“I like night races, it’s adds another element to the racing, it helps show the spectacle of what Indycars. This weekend will be like flying fighter jets in a gymnasium, that’s how tight Iowa is!

Kimball drove his Chevrolet-powered Dallara DW12 to eleventh and tenth placed finishes at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin which he and the team were pleasantly surprised by after the start to their weekend.

“We didn’t unload particularly competitive.” Kimball said, “Practice on Saturday, I didn’t have much confidence in the car and I wasn’t able to find lap time.

“We made it better but we made a mistake in qualifying and we continued to make it better throughout the race. We had three really good pit stops and we’d set up to have a better Sunday so to have such a good result was a nice surprise.”

Dalton (Kellett) did a really good job too, he doesn’t have as much experience but he does have a different perspective with his engineering degree so he brings a fresh look at Indycar and I think our ideas have helped lead the team forward.”

Kimball’s former team Chip Ganassi Racing are having a wonderful start to the 2020 season, winning all four of the opening races, with five-time series champion Scott Dixon taking the first three of those wins before Felix Rosenqvist broke his Indycar duck in Sunday’s second race.

Peek-a-boo! Kimball was on good form at Road America, one of America’s most scenic race tracks. Credit: NTT Indycar Series.

Commenting on his old team and teammate Dixon, Kimball said: “Scott’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever had. He never stops learning and having Felix and Marcus (Ericsson) with him this year has only helped him more. When you give Scott an opportunity, he always maximises it.”

“I’m not surprised they’ve started so well; they’ve got great staff both at the shop and on the road, the cars run pretty flawlessly and Scott rarely makes a mistake and as he gets older he makes even less which is frustrating for the rest of us.”

“I enjoy racing him so I’m not ready to see him go yet, I just wish he’d share the wealth a little bit.”

Kimball also commented on the new for 2020 aeroscreen and the challenges he’s faced in the four races he’s driven with the device.

He said: “Visually you almost don’t notice it, you’re looking so far ahead you forget it’s there, But being in the cockpit is very different. You just don’t get that same breeze even though we have the air hoses, it’s just not the same.”

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