Charlie Kimball made a number of changes going into his tenth NTT IndyCar Series season. So far, that seems to have worked in his favor, as Kimball had a very strong drive in the season opener at Texas Motor Speedway. Will shaking up almost everything enable Kimball to be a contender in the 2020 IndyCar season?
No. 4 A.J. Foyt Racing (1st year)
No wins while running a partial schedule of only seven races. Best finish of 10th at Portland.
Changes for 2020
Charlie Kimball moves to A.J. Foyt Racing after two seasons with Carlin. He will run the full 2020 IndyCar season schedule, an upgrade from the handful of races he contested in 2019.
Thank you to @AJFoytRacing for giving me such a great car. I love @TXMotorSpeedway for moments like these. We had a bobble in pit lane, so we didn’t get the result the team deserved – but a great start to the year. https://t.co/oqkUolHkVl
— Charlie Kimball (@charliekimball) June 7, 2020
Strengths for 2020
Kimball appears reinvigorated by his move to Foyt, as he drove much better at the 2020 Genesys 300 than his final result indicated. He had the No. 4 entry running within the top 10 most of the night, and if not for a slip-up on pit lane, a top-5 finish was within his reach. If he can continue to drive like that, even if it’s not at every race, he could crack the top 10 in the championship standings for the first since since 2016.
Getting a full-time drive back is an obvious plus, both in terms of championship points and just additional time spent in the car during a 2020 IndyCar season that’s full of change. With more time to learn, and more teammates to learn from, there’s no reason Kimball can’t have a successful season as long as his car holds up.
Weaknesses for 2020
The biggest issue for Charlie Kimball is that he’s moved to a team that, for the last several seasons, has been largely toward the back of the NTT IndyCar Series field. Will they be able to give him cars that are competitive with the likes of Team Penske and his former colleagues at Chip Ganassi Racing?
Plus, Kimball will have the added responsibility of being Foyt’s only full-time driver. He’ll have to set the tone and create consistency for the whole organization, since who’s in the No. 14 entry will be changing multiple times during the season. That’s a tall order as Kimball looks for his first race win since Mid-Ohio in 2013, and his first podium finish since Sonoma in 2015.
While Charlie Kimball may not be a championship contender in the 2020 IndyCar season, he still has the ability to make some waves, as evidenced by how he posted the best result in Carlin team history (fifth place at Toronto in 2018). The fact that he’s back for the full season should help him build momentum with his new organization. Look for him to nab at least one top-5 result, and potentially break that podium drought if Foyt provides him with a car that’s consistently competitive.
The 2020 IndyCar season continues on Saturday, July 4 with the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will air at 12:15 p.m. ET on NBC.