Charlie Kimball claimed a long overdue maiden win at Mid-Ohio

For the second consecutive year, the Mid-Ohio Grand Prix ran caution-free flag-to-flag, with Target Chip Ganassi claiming the victory – although not the driver you might expect. Breaking through for his maiden victory, Charlie Kimball drove the perfect aggressive, yet calculated race strategy to take the chequered flag after 90 laps of the Lexington, Ohio layout.

Polesitter Ryan Hunter-Reay did not emerge victorious

Kimball, starting in fifth place, quickly passed Marco Andretti and then waited until the perfect moment to strike the killer blow. Holding his own behind pole-sitter Ryan Hunter-Reay, Will Power and team-mate Scott Dixon, he stayed in touch with the three leaders for the first 30 laps until they all pitted at the same time, releasing him into open-air to make his mark and deliver a three-stop strategy – while most opted for two visits to pit lane – to take him to victory lane.

It was here that Kimball made his mark on the race. Upon resuming in the same order they entered the pits, Hunter-Reay, Power and Dixon became bogged down in a larger group of cars and were stuck setting laps in the 1m08s range, while Kimball was easily two seconds a lap faster. It was here that Kimball’s focus switched to fellow three-stopper Simon Pagenaud, who was setting equally quick times and had passed the three leaders in his own right after clearing some cars in front of his eighth-place grid spot.

Kimball’s own pit stop was insufficient to ensure he resumed ahead of Pagenaud, but the positions were quickly switched back once the Friendly Frog pitted for his own service.

Elsewhere in the field, championship points leader Helio Castroneves was struggling with a car clearly not working to his liking. The Brazilian was wringing its neck to get the most out of it, managing to get past some cars and make his way slowly up the order. It was mainly through the misfortune of arch-rival Scott Dixon and the quick pit work of the Penske team that saw Castroneves finish ahead of the Kiwi.

Series debutants Luca Filippi and James Davison were keeping their nose clean, with the former undertaking an early battle with Graham Rahal, which was eventually won by the latter largely due to the benefit of his experience. Filippi drove a clean race, as did Davison, and did their chances of a full time ride next season no harm at all.

With the race running under full green conditions, its only casualty was Tony Kanaan. The Indy 500 winner slowed on the back straight with a loose right-rear tyre. Unable to make it back to the pits, the Brazilian headed for the infield grassy area and showing the class and professionalism his years of experience warrants, parked his car well off the racing line and negating the need for a full course caution.

Later in the race, Kimball found himself stuck behind the lapped car of EJ Viso, who was proving reluctant to yield to the leader, but there was no penalty, blue flags or order to move aside forthcoming from Race Control.

Victory was assured with Kimball overtaking Pagenaud after their final pit stopsThe ensuing delay allowed Pagenaud to build up a lead sufficient to emerge from his final stop in the lead of the race, just ahead of Kimball.

Running nose-to-tail along the back straight, Kimball had enough push-to-pass power available to him to ensure his momentum carried him past Pagenaud into Turn 4. From here, Kimball held on to take the victory.

Charlie Kimball’s boss Chip Ganassi was clearly elated with his young charge’s first win, actually managing to fall off the pit-wall – thankfully avoiding injury – in his haste to celebrate the win.

Kimball himself was naturally overjoyed, dedicating the win to his parents and sister and paying tribute to the sacrifices all made to support his burgeoning racing career which was now starting to pay dividends.

Next up is Sonoma, which in some ways is similar to Mid-Ohio, with its sweeping elevation changes and mix of slow, medium and fast corners. Helio Castroneves, by virtue of finishing one place ahead of Scott Dixon, saw his championship points lead increase by a further four points to 33, with five races to go. Consistency may win him this title, but it is not over yet. One slip-up by either party could secure it for the other, and the pressure to stay cool has never been more intense.

2013 IndyCar Series Honda Indy 200 Mid-Ohio Final Classification (90 laps):

Driver   Entry / Team Laps Result
1. Charlie Kimball USA Chip Ganassi Racing 90 1:43:29.1371
2. Simon Pagenaud SPH Racing 90 + 5.5334
3. Dario Franchitti Chip Ganassi Racing 90 + 28.8735
4. Will Power AUS Team Penske 90 + 42.5032
5. Ryan Hunter-Reay USA Andretti Autosport 90 + 46.3449
6. Hélio Castroneves BRA Team Penske 90 + 48.3249
7. Scott Dixon NZL Chip Ganassi Racing 90 + 48.5496
8. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne Racing 90 + 49.0431
9. Marco Andretti USA Andretti Autosport 90 + 49.5609
10. James Hinchcliffe CAN Andretti Autosport 90 + 49.9283
11. Simona de Silvestro KV Racing Technology 90 + 50.4925
12. Sébastien Bourdais Dragon Racing 90 + 54.1360
13. James Jakes Rahal Letterman Lanigan 90 + 54.6693
14. Oriol Servià ESP Panther Racing 90 + 1:04.6395
15. James Davison AUS Dale Coyne Racing 90 + 1:05.4079
16. Luca Filippi ITA Barracuda Racing 90 + 1:09.0090
17. E.J. Viso Team Venzuela / Andretti 89 1 lap behind
18. Graham Rahal USA Rahal Letterman Lanigan 89 1 lap behind
19. Sebastián Saavedra Dragon Racing 89 1 lap behind
20. Ed Carpenter USA Ed Carpenter Racing 89 1 lap behind
21. Tristan Vautier SPH Racing 89 1 lap behind
22. Takuma Sato AJ Foyt Enterprises 89 1 lap behind
23. Josef Newgarden USA Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing 88 2 laps behind
Not Classified        
DNF. Tony Kanaan BRA KV Racing Technology 64 Mechanical supports a world free of factory farming. Learn more and pledge your support by CLICKING HERE!

Matthew Lennon
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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.