INDIANAPOLIS — It may be the offseason for the IZOD IndyCar Series, but November is one of the busiest months of the year for Chip Ganassi Racing driver Charlie Kimball.
Kimball, who became the first driver with type 1 diabetes to win an IndyCar Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in August, spends much of the month making appearances as part of National Diabetes Awareness Month.
“With November being Diabetes Awareness Month, I’m always busy in November, but especially busy this year,” said the driver of the Novo Nordisk No. 83. “Coming off the team’s success with Scott (Dixon) getting the championship, we had a pretty big appearance for Cessna, as part of the Textron Companies’ involvement with the team. I also had a chance to talk at my high school, which was interesting. It was good to go back and see everyone.
“I’ve also made a couple appearances for Novo Nordisk,” he continued. “I was in Princeton (N.J.) at their headquarters as part of a reconvening of all the patient-ambassadors. There were cyclists from Team Novo Nordisk, (triathlete) Jay Hewitt, (former football players) Kendall Simmons and Marcus Dupree and (baseball hall of famer) Lou Brock. They’re building a bureau of celebrity chefs to work on food and nutrition for people with diabetes to emphasize healthy eating and healthy lifestyles. There were chefs with Puerto Rican and Cuban backgrounds as well as Texan chef and chef Curtis Aikens and few people like that.”
In addition to his first victory, Kimball finished ninth in the standings with nine top-10 finishes.
“It was a good year, definitely,” Kimball said. “I’m not quite ready to call it a great year. With two race wins — if we had been able to close out the year with a win at Auto Club Speedway — that would have been a great year with two wins and (finishing) top eight in points.
“Top 10 in points is really good, and as a team that’s where we expected and wanted and needed to be. Getting the win at Mid-Ohio was huge for the team. There were a lot of guys on the team that it was their first race win as well as mine. It meant a lot to me to be part of that experience for them.”
Kimball said his team is already hard at work preparing for the 2014 season.
“If you are starting now, it’s almost too late,” Kimball said. “As a team, we’ve been looking toward 2014 since the end of Fontana. Maybe we took a day off or two days off, but one of the reasons why Chip Ganassi Racing as an organization is so successful is that they don’t sit on their laurels. They work continually to make things better and move forward.
“As far as expectations, we haven’t sat down and put anything pen to paper but we’re looking forward to spring boarding from this year and continuing to take a step forward,” he continued. “We’re proven that when we take a step and make an improvement in results and performance it’s a one-way street. We keep moving forward rather than backsliding.”