“It’s really special. It’s special for me, but it’s more importantly special for everyone that’s helped me get here,” Kimball said. “To be able to get that win was definite validation for Chip (Ganassi), for the Novo Nordisk Group, my engineer, Brad and all of the crew.”
Kimball, who finished fourth in the Firestone Indy Lights standings in 2010, moved to the IZOD IndyCar Series the next season. He recorded two top-10 finishes in 17 races. Six top 10s, including a runner-up finish at Toronto, were highlights of 2012.
Entering the third season, Kimball and the organization had higher expectations. Qualifying for his first Firestone Fast Six session and delivering a fourth-place finish at Barber Motorsports Park in mid-April was a proper start. He added three top 10s in the next five races, and broke through July 7 by advancing from the 12th starting position to finish second to teammate Scott Dixon at Pocono Raceway.
“I said at the beginning of the year that the last couple of years we got the experience, we built the foundation and, as a team, we are ready to win. Now we just need to do it,” Kimball said.
The victory came in Kimball’s 45th IZOD IndyCar Series start, and he jumped from 11th to a tie with Andretti Autosport’s three-time race winner James Hinchcliffe for seventh in the standings with five races remaining.
The drive on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course, where Kimball did not compete last year because of a fractured metacarpal bone suffered in testing at Mid-Ohio a week before the race, impressed teammate Dario Franchitti, who placed third in the No. 10 GE car for Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
“He’s learning quickly,” the four-time series champion said. “Bit by bit you see him get rid of his weaknesses, and he’s smart and he’s taken full advantage of the fact that he’s a member of the team, the Ganassi team, and all the stuff that he has available to him, whether it’s experience or the engineering group or equipment at his disposal. He’s taking full advantage of it.”