IndyCar: Charlie Kimball talks 2019 plans, IndyCar’s future and more in exclusive Q&A

FORT WORTH, TX - JUNE 08: Charlie Kimball, driver of the #23 Tresiba Chevrolet, stands on the grid during the US Concrete Qualifying Day for the Verizon IndyCar Series DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 8, 2018 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
FORT WORTH, TX - JUNE 08: Charlie Kimball, driver of the #23 Tresiba Chevrolet, stands on the grid during the US Concrete Qualifying Day for the Verizon IndyCar Series DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 8, 2018 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images) /

We recently had the opportunity to interview IndyCar driver Charlie Kimball on his expectations for 2019, his thoughts on IndyCar’s future and more.

We recently had the opportunity to ask IndyCar race winner Charlie Kimball several questions covering a variety of topics from his 2019 plans to his unique sponsorship with Novo Nordisk, his father’s career as a race car engineer, his thoughts on IndyCar’s future and his exciting offseason.

Here is what the IndyCar veteran had to say in this Q&A interview.

Beyond The Flag: 2019 begins your ninth season in IndyCar and second with Carlin. How excited are you for this season and what are your expectations for this year?

Charlie Kimball: It is really exciting being in my ninth season because last year Carlin and I had some really good results. A top five at Toronto, a few top 10s, and at the Indy 500, [Carlin] qualified both cars. In the offseason, with a little more time, the team has been able to catch their breath and get up to speed. Coming into last year, the team knew IndyCar was going to be a big challenge, but at the end of the year, they had a lot better understanding of what that meant. I think this year, the expectations internally for us go up because we’ve been there. We’ve seen the race tracks. We’ve seen the cars. We understand the racing and strategy and we have a lot to learn from last year, and it’s all about executing on that and getting even better results this year.  

BTF: This year will be different in that you will move to a partial season, running five races: St. Petersburg, the Indianapolis 500, Texas, Pocono and Laguna Seca. Are you still hoping to find funding for more events this season?

Kimball: First, how neat it is that Novo Nordisk is back for their 11th season partnering with me in racing? That’s a long-term relationship that’s longer than a lot of things in racing, and even sports in general. I’m trying to work with Carlin to come up with opportunities to fill out more races. I’ve always said, “have helmet, will travel”, so any opportunities I get to get in the car, I will definitely take advantage of.

BTF: What was the reasoning behind selecting these particular events to compete in? Obviously Indy makes sense. But why were the other races selected as events you will compete in?

More from IndyCar

Kimball: If you look at my schedule, it bookends the season start to finish. If you look at it geographically, the schedule hits all corners of the U.S.: the West Coast, the South, Midwest, the Northeast and the Southeast. It’s really a chance to highlight our Race with Insulin partnership with Novo Nordisk through five races that are geographically varied, but also spread throughout the calendar as well.

BTF: Your Novo Nordisk sponsorship is unique because you have type 1 diabetes and use special equipment provided by them to monitor your blood sugar levels while driving. Can you tell us a little more about this unique set of equipment?

Kimball: I wear a continuous glucose monitor and I have a sensor on my body that transmits information to a display, and that display is plugged into the car’s data system. Not only does my blood glucose level come up on my steering wheel, but it’s transmitted through the telemetry radio, just like all of the other car data, back to the timing stand in pit lane. So the engineers can not only ensure that the car is running right, but also that my body is running as right as well.

BTF: IndyCar, and motorsport as a whole, is a family sport. I think it’s fair to say that your career was most likely influenced by your father, who designed race cars. Can you tell us a little about how his career influenced you?

Kimball: I grew up watching racing because of my dad’s engineering work designing race cars. I was born in Europe when he was working in Formula 1, so I was always exposed to the sport. When I was racing go-karts, and eventually cars at the age of 16, I never looked back from there.

BTF: Some of the cars he engineered were quite successful, correct?

Kimball: Yup! He race engineered Ayrton Senna to the world championship at McLaren. He was part of the engineering team on Gordon Jockcock’s 1982 Indy 500 winner. While he won’t ever tell people about his racing pedigree, it’s pretty storied as well.

BTF: Over the last few seasons, IndyCar has experienced a great amount of growth and exposure. From the new television package with NBC Sports to new venues to new teams, the series seems to be in a great place right now. What are your thoughts on IndyCar’s future?

Kimball: I think IndyCar is absolutely headed in the right direction. I saw a quote from Mark Miles where he said, “I’ve been saying for a while that IndyCar is positioned for growth and now I can say that we are growing,” and that shows. It shows in sponsor announcements. It shows in partner announcements. It shows in all of the broadcast deals, from the NBC programming to international broadcast rights. You’re seeing that growth in new teams like Carlin and Juncos and Harding Steinbrenner. That growth is really putting a lot of energy into the paddock and I think that energy is helping the paddock sell to partners and the long-term health of the sport.

BTF: It is certainly great to see the long offseason finally coming to a close. What do you like to do in your downtime, and did you do anything special over this offseason?

Kimball: My wife and I love being outdoors, whether it’s hiking or going to national parks. This offseason has been a new adventure. My wife and I welcomed our first child, our daughter, back in October. There have been a lot of sleepless nights over the course of the winter, but it’s a fun adventure and I really enjoy figuring out how to be a dad. Both my wife and I have great role models with our parents, so being able to take those lessons they’ve learned and pass them on to our daughter is pretty neat.

Next. Top 10 IndyCar drivers of all-time. dark

Thank you to Charlie Kimball for taking the time to do this interview. We wish him the best of luck in the 2019 IndyCar season!