ELKHART LAKE, Wis.—Charlie Kimball and the No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet team scored their first top-10 finish of the season in Race 2 of the REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR Doubleheader at Road America this afternoon. However, it wasn’t without a bit of drama at the end.
The beautiful 4-mile circuit can cause angst amongst engineers because fuel is always a factor as teams try to stretch it to the limit—and it is a long way back to pitlane if they miscalculate.
There was a fair bit of concern in the No. 4 team pits after the final fuel stop on lap 41 when there was a question about whether it was a complete fill. Engineers played it cautiously, and strategist Larry Foyt radioed to Kimball to save fuel. Every lap Foyt asked for a little more saving as the numbers made everyone on the pit stand a bit worried.
The final pit stop caused a bit of worry but everything worked out fine.
At one point, Kimball radioed back “I’m doing everything I can.”
Apparently, it was enough as he claimed his first top-10 of the season. It turned out that the engineers were erring on the side of caution because there was enough fuel in the tank to take the checkered and make it back to pitlane with some fuel still left in the tank.
Kimball, who qualified 13th, did a good job getting through a couple of first lap accidents without damage. Ryan Hunter-Reay (started fourth) and Graham Rahal (started fifth) spun off and hit barriers in separate incidents with one common factor—Will Power who was issued a penalty for avoidable contact. Neither driver was hurt despite the hard contact.
After the second caution on lap six (this time for Power’s excursion in T13), Kimball settled in with a good pace. He started on new alternate compound (red) Firestones but switched to the primary compound (black) tires after the first stop and ran blacks for the remainder of the 55-lap race.
Despite his woes early on, Power managed to climb back to 11th; he too was saving fuel at the end having pitted on the same lap as Kimball.
“I’m really excited to get the first top-10 of the season here in Race No. 2 at Road America,” Kimball said afterwards, looking none the worse for wear. “The No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet team worked really hard overnight to get the car ready for qualifying. We qualified 13th, had a good run there, had to save a little fuel at the end, make it across the line, come home 10th. I think it’s a good weekend – 11th yesterday, 10th today – put some points in the bank and we’ll head to a doubleheader at Iowa next weekend.”
Dalton Kellett continued to make progress in his steep learning curve this season. He started 23rd and finished 20th in the No. 14 K-Line Insulators Chevrolet. His car got hit with flying debris in the first lap melee causing him to pit to replace the nose assembly. From then on he had a pretty smooth race, logging laps as his strategist Scott Harner told him, “Just keep doing what you’re doing. You’re doing good lap times.”
The crew replaces the nose assembly after it got hit with debris from first lap melee.
“We’re wrapped up here at Road America,” Kellett said. “It was a great race weekend, lots of learning for me with the doubleheader, lots of experience gained in the No. 14 K-Line Insulators Chevrolet. The team gave me a great car to learn and keep on progressing, so working with the 14 car crew and Charlie and the 4 car crew, we got some great data. We’ll be debriefing after this. We want to keep getting better, keep progressing. Obviously, we don’t want to be coming home 20th, we want to be fighting with the pack. I think we’ve got some good information coming out of this weekend and going into Mid-Ohio – it’s one of my favorite tracks – so it’s going to be a fun weekend. We’ve got about three weeks to think about things so we should be able to regroup and come back strong then.”
Foyt was encouraged by the progress the team was able to make throughout the compressed weekend which allowed only one 75-minute practice before qualifying.
“The team made good progress this weekend on our road course setup,” Foyt observed. “We unloaded yesterday way off the pace, but the engineers and drivers did a good job getting us to a more competitive place. Charlie drove a good race today to score a top 10, and Dalton ran a lot of laps to gain some valuable experience.”
“The team gave me a great car to learn and keep on progressing,” said Kellett. (INDYCAR Photo)
Felix Rosenqvist scored his first career victory in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES as he stole past race-long leader and pole winner Pato O’Ward with seven laps to go. O’Ward held on for second. Rounding out the top five were Alexander Rossi, Marcus Ericsson and Colton Herta.
The teams head to Iowa Speedway this week for their second straight doubleheader weekend with races with the Iowa 250s running Friday and Saturday nights, July 17-18. Tony Kanaan returns to the No. 14 Chevrolet this weekend. The races will be broadcast on NBCSN starting at 8:30 p.m. ET on both nights.