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Firestone Indy Lights: Mid-Ohio 100

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Mid-Ohio 100

Firestone Indy Lights: Mid-Ohio 100

Dan Clarke
Charlie Kimball
August 8, 2010


LEXINGTON, OHIO

Q. (No microphone.)
CHARLIE KIMBALL: The car was really good from the green flag. I made some good moves from the start, moved up a couple of spots. Starting sixth, I wasn't hopeful of the podium coming into the day. Mid-Ohio is a really tough place to pass.
But the car was amazing from the first lap. I could be really aggressive early and then I had a lot of scope in the car to use my tools and follow the racecar as the grip came in.
I think I could see I was quicker on one or two laps than Dan, but he never made a mistake. Once I closed up on him, the car went away from me, I'd fall back, the grip would come back.
I just had to run consistent laps, hope he made a mistake. All credit to him, he didn't. The cars up front were pushing really hard. Martin ran a clean race. Hinch made his mistake. I'll take it. Mistakes like that, it could have been me.

Q. How hard is it to stay patient?
DAN CLARKE: A lot easier than if you know the guy in front is quicker than you.
CHARLIE KIMBALL: That's true. If you're back there, you have to set a pace, you're watching the lap times, watching the data, talking to the team, making sure the pressure from behind isn't increasing, stuff like that. You almost have a chance to take a breath and attack when you can.
You figure out pretty quickly where you're quicker, if a move is going to happen, where it's going to happen. You are sort of focused on those points, just stay with them and do the best you can with the rest of the track.

Q. (No microphone.)
DAN CLARKE: Yeah, I mean, I have to say we've picked it up. That's what we've been trying to do all year is catch up to these guys. It's my first year in Indy Lights. A lot of these guys, it's their second year. I'm literary coming into tracks I haven't driven before. I had to learn Mid-Ohio in a practice session.
We were really chuffed to get third place in qualifying. We had a new engineer come onboard in Toronto. It appears like he changed everything really. But we've all been working hard all year. I really credit a lot of this to Derrick, not only putting me in the car and getting me back in a racecar, but also just all the dedication he's put in just making sure that everybody's doing their absolute best and we're getting the best out of everything. That's really why we've got this momentum now.
We're in the top three, top four every session. I'd like it to carry on. I feel it's great to get another podium. The championship's pretty messed up for us, missing that first race, having a couple of bad races. But I think maybe sixth or fifth place is in grab if we keep this momentum going.
Short-term it feels great to be back on the podium. I can't be more thankful to Walker Racing, racing again, back on the podium. It feels great.

Q. (No microphone.)
DAN CLARKE: Well, the trick of it is every car has its own nuances. There's a lot to figure out about Indy Lights cars. Being with a team that's not run it a lot before, it's difficult to know where to be. Being on our own, not having anyone to compare data to and setups, that makes it harder.
I'd say we pretty much got it where we want it right now. I think the hardest thing is, not griping while you're sitting on the podium, the races aren't very long. The races you see now, it's all about qualifying. So for us having to learn every time we go to a track what we need to go quick, we've got even less time because you've got to do it in qualifying then start the race at the front because, like Charlie said, you can't really pass.
So the biggest disappointment is not having 800 horsepower anymore. The length of the races I really enjoyed back then. I finished a lot of races this year ready for more, you know. I really want to capitalize on the fact that, you know, I train really hard and I can keep going. I miss the pit stops, as well, and the fuel strategies and all that kind of stuff.
I mean, being with Walker is a great opportunity. We're working really hard to get in the big cars. You know, I can't stress enough to everybody, you know, how much we have an opportunity to get in a big car this year really, and we just need a little bit of sponsorship to do that.
Derrick is in the same position I am. When we first sat down and met after the St. Pete race before we signed for Barber, we're both in the same boat: we're desperate to get in the big cars, back where we once were, you know.
So these podiums are great, you know. I'm happy for Derrick that we're back on the podium because he wants this just as much as I do and prove himself that he belongs higher up because, you know, for us to be doing this in the first year feels awesome. A lot of these guys in the series are really good and they really know what they're doing. For us to score podiums against them feels awesome.

Q. (No microphone.)
CHARLIE KIMBALL: All credit comes down to AFS Racing, Andretti Autosport. Every race we finished on the lead lap, we haven't been lower than fourth. You know, the crash at Iowa, an ECU failure at Watkins Glen which put is back. The consistency has been there. Even in all-season testing, we knew we were going to be quick.
The credit goes to the mechanics because without them the car doesn't run and they just make sure it's perfect every time I hit the track, I can push. We're making progress. Even now my engineer and I are pushing the limits on the setup and trying to make that last step. It's definitely helped with Martin on the top step, I think that consistency is a big change championship-wise, but it's also helpful to get a lot of data so we can get the information, move forward and move up the podium a couple of spots and beat my teammate hopefully.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

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