FORT WORTH, Texas – Carlin continued its methodical growth in the Verizon IndyCar Series with another promising showing the DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Charlie Kimball led the first-year squad with a 10th-place finish, while teammate Max Chilton came home 12th on Saturday night. The outing comes a week after a strong showing for both in the second race of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader, where Kimball and Chilton finished eighth and 11th, respectively.
Britain-based Carlin has achieved success worldwide in open-wheel racing, primarily in junior formulas. Team owner Trevor Carlin started an Indy Lights program in 2015 with an eye toward advancing to the Verizon IndyCar Series. By design, the team has taken a disciplined approach in its rookie season.
The back-to-back solid efforts provide evidence of that growth and optimism for more to come. The results at Texas Motor Speedway were especially rewarding considering neither driver had finished better than 17th place in either of the two previous oval races this season.
Kimball, driver of the No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet (shown above), came away pleased by the grit shown by the entire organization.
“They showed the utmost professionalism,” Kimball said. “They came in with a setup that was evolved from a really good race car at Indy. They learned from our technical partners. They put a great car together that was consistent.
“All weekend long from the first practice (on Friday) morning, I went out, I knew what I had. It’s something I could believe, I could trust, we could develop. We didn’t change a whole lot since we unloaded and that comes down to both guys (engineers) on the timing stands, in that engineering office and the guys that are in the garage and haven’t been home for six weeks.
“They’ve been living out of hotels in Indianapolis, Detroit and Texas for six weeks (and) they haven’t put a foot wrong. You can’t oversell that.”
Kimball, in his eighth Verizon IndyCar Series season, believes he and Chilton, in his third year, are “gelling with the crew as a team.”
“We didn’t know what was going to happen (at Texas) with the tires,” Kimball said, referring to concerns about tire wear due to the hot ambient temperatures and the demands placed on tires by Texas’ high banks and loading. “These guys just kept managing it. We said all night long, ‘OK, be safe. If we have problems, we’ll stop. If we have problems, we’ll stop.’
“The car just kind of stabilized and we kept running well. I think there was one small mistake and we overcame that to finish 10th.”
Since the beginning of the season, the performance increase has been gradual at Carlin, but team manager Colin Hale said it isn’t due to any predetermined adjustments.
“I don’t think it’s anything necessarily we’ve changed,” Hale said. “We’ve just been quite strict on how we go about each circuit we go to because pretty much every circuit is new for us. Certainly, (Texas) is a daunting prospect coming here to race when there’s so little track time (before the race).
“So it’s just a case of a real team effort, including Max and Charlie, and just doing the basics and trying to chip away, cover the basics and make sure we get a good solid car and work from there.”
Even with the building momentum, expectations are being tempered as Chilton and Kimball ready for the next race weekend, the KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America from June 22-24.
“We’ve always got a goal of being at the front, but obviously we have to be realistic,” Hale admitted.
“We’re competing against a lot of great teams and a lot of great drivers, so even for us as a new team with relatively little experience, to try and stay in the top 10 and scoring points is a huge achievement. If we can keep doing that, then the opportunities arise for you to improve.
“I think it’s just important for us to carry on doing the same thing we have done since the start of the season and just try and improve step by step. If we can do that, then I think the better results will come.”
Several teams are testing today at Road America in advance of race weekend though Carlin is not among them.
A pair of practices will open the race weekend on Friday, June 22, with a final practice and Verizon P1 Award qualifying taking place Saturday, June 23. A same-day qualifying telecast airs at 6:30 p.m. ET.
The 55-lap race on the 4.014-mile permanent road course airs live at 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday, June 24. All three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy development ladder will contest doubleheader race weekends as well. For ticket information, click here.