After clinching his first win in the IZOD IndyCar Series, Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing's Charlie Kimball spoke with the media at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sunday.
We are now pleased would be joined by today's race winner, Charlie Kimball of Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing. This is Charlie's first career IZOD IndyCar Series victory. It came in his 45th IndyCar start, and this is only his second start at Mid‑Ohio. He missed last year's race due to an injury sustained in testing, and this is also the fifth consecutive win for Chip Ganassi Racing here at Mid‑Ohio.
Congratulations, and talk about today race and that pass on Pagenaud in the closing laps.
I feel like maybe Mid‑Ohio and I have come to terms. She broke my hand last year and I got a win out of her this year. I think we are just about square now.
Overall, the team made a great call strategy wise early. We talked about it in the meetings this morning with Scott and Dario, and we kind of talked about going to an alternate strategy as much as possible to hedge the bets for Chip so that we had the opportunity for a race win.
We knew we had the car to do it. We knew that we had the pace, consistency. I made that gap in that second stint to be able to come out ahead of Hunter‑Reay, and at that point then, we just had to modulate the gap to Simon.
I got caught in some traffic I think on that third sting when I was on Blacks and I knew I'm on was on Reds because he started on those primary Firestones. And he came out of the pit lane just ahead of me, and the traffic I was sighting got clear or did get clear of him. And then on the run down the back straight, I was committed to using my last push‑to‑pass to get up to him, and went down the inside.
And he said afterwards, he goes: Man, I didn't think you were going to be able to keep it on the track when he went by me. He said, that was pretty late. Which was interesting, because I thought I could have gotten deeper if I needed to. I didn't gather it up as much as I expected I would have to at the exit of four, just sort of settled into it.
We knew the Reds were scrubbed. They weren't new. We used our new sets earlier in the race, and the way the stints worked out, the strategy wasn't - it wasn't perfect, but you can't complain too much when you come away with a race win.
Talk about your first win, some hurdles along the way, that you might never have thought you would have gotten here. Just talk about your first win and what it means.