By: Ashley McCubbin
Despite 2020 being a struggle at times for A.J. Foyt Racing, they were able to end off their season on a high with Sebastien Bourdais and Charlie Kimball placing fourth and eighth, respectively.
Although Kimball is only scheduled to run the Indianapolis 500 and Indianapolis Grand Prix with them this year, he recognizes the results can create momentum and belief within team members.
“I think it definitely energizes the whole engineering office, the mechanics, both race shops, in Speedway and down in Waller,” Kimball told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “A good result like that, it’s the proof that the work you’ve put in all season, the development you’ve done over the course of race weekends, is paying off. That gives everybody confidence to keep working and keep that work ethic up.
“I’ve seen that in conversations with Larry, the team management, with engineering, that there is a solid belief in the work that we accomplished last year and how that’s going to pay off this year based on the continuing development over the winter.”
The belief was backed up by A.J. Foyt Racing’s President Larry Foyt, as the team looks to hopefully run strong in the Indianapolis 500. Kimball has ran well in the Biggest Spectacle of Racing previously, including a third in 2015.
“Just no doubt the Indy 500 is on the top of our list,” Larry Foyt said. “We really care about that race. We’ve been working hard to get our permanent road course stuff better because we felt like we were lacking some competitiveness at the Indy GP and struggled there. We’ve been working on some shop development stuff for that kind of racetrack. We have a Barber test coming up. All stuff that will hopefully benefit Charlie and the whole team as we roll into the month of May.”
Although last year’s 18th was not what Kimball was hoping for, he saw positives in how they ran throughout the event, and overcoming some challenges those outside the team were unaware of.
“It was nice to get that result, have a nice clean month,” he reflected. “The Indy GP, I think we learned some things not only that July 4th weekend but also at the Harvest Grand Prix later in the year. For me as a driver, I definitely learned some things that paid off when we got to St. Pete, then beyond that here into 2021.”
There is also a possibility for the schedule to be expanded as Kimball plans to put in the work to hopefully create more opportunities for himself.
“I’m a racing driver. I love being in a race car, whatever that looks like,” he commented. “I think for me, I spoke earlier about what I really missed in 2020. Even though it was a full season, I felt like I missed some of those events that are really special to me: Long Beach Grand Prix comes to mind, Grand Prix up in Toronto as well. If I can put an opportunity together that allows me to be in the cockpit in the INDYCAR Series for those events, I will. I’m continuing to work towards that goal.
“At the same time I’m focused on getting the job done in May. I’m focused on going out, getting the best result possible for A.J. Foyt Racing, figuring out how to get this big nose and ugly mug onto that Borg-Warner trophy.”