TORONTO, Ontario — When Carlin Racing started the season with only one top-10 in the first four races between their pair of drivers, critics began to wonder if the organization had bit off more than they could chew. However, halfway through the year, it appears that’s history as Charlie Kimball scored the team’s first top-five on Sunday at the Honda Indy Toronto.
“It’s special for the mechanics because they’ve been working so hard, both the 23 and the 59 crew,” he told POPULAR OPEN WHEEL. “These Carlin boys – they put long hours in just to show up at St. Pete, and then every race they’re here first and they’re out last. It comes down to all the work by them. The stops today were really good, the strategy was good.
“We started for once with a baseline we knew as we came from Detroit where we had a good racecar and kept working on it. So to get the team’s first top-five in Ontario, the birth place of Insulin while representing Diabetes Canada and Novo Nordisk is extra special.”
There was nothing easy about getting the finish, between having to work his way forward after qualifying 20th on Saturday, or dealing with the hot temperatures and humidity.
“It was tough,” Kimball added. “It’s one of the shorter races we do – shortage mileage, but you don’t get a lot of time to rest around here. At one point, they didn’t think my radio was working because they radioed a couple questions to me and I couldn’t catch my breath to radio them back to let them know what the car is doing. It’s tough, it’s humid, but when they say you’re running 11th and started 20th, then pretty soon you’re eighth, and then you’re chasing around fifth, and then you come home top-five its pretty awesome.”
Moving forward, Kimball feels the team could be contending for podiums soon, but he needs to start closer to the front. So far this year, his best qualifying effort was 12th at Texas Motor Speedway.
” That’s something that I’ve been thinking about and working on, but if we can get a little better on Saturday, we can do a lot better on Sunday,” he said.
He will hope to carry the momentum into Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where he scored his lone Verizon IndyCar Series victory in 2013.
“Looking forward to it,” he said. “We obviously had a race win there back in 2013 so we know our way around there. We get the chance to go test there on Tuesday, and I feel like we’ll be in good shape when we get there for the race in a few weeks.”
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