It was a busy race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway that packed two practice sessions, qualifying, and a 248-lap race into a short two days. With no testing or prior experience on the oval, the team came together to qualify Charlie Kimball and the No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet 12th on Friday evening heading into the race on Saturday night. Due to an unexpected throttle issue, Chilton and the No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet missed valuable track time during the first 90-minute practice session and would later qualify 22nd for the DXC Technology 600.
The 248-lap race went green just as the sun was setting on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway and after only seven laps, the field was yellow for the No. 4 car on fire on track. The team called Chilton in under the yellow for fuel, tires, and a front wing adjustment and the field was back to green on Lap 13 with Kimball in 12th and Chilton in 21st on the restart. After 30 laps in, Kimball was holding strong in 12th and Chilton had moved up a position to 20th. Only 32 laps later, Kimball was called in for his first stop of the race for fuel, tires, and a front wing adjustment and teammate Chilton wasn’t far behind on Lap 70 for his second stop of the race for fuel and tires.
Still under green, Kimball came back in again on Lap 115 for another full-service stop of fuel, tires, and a front wing adjustment and seven laps later Chilton was back in again for another pit stop. The team called Kimball back into pit lane 20 laps later for fresh tires and to top off on fuel and the field was back to yellow for contact between the No. 6 and No. 20 cars on Lap 173. After an 11-lap clean-up effort and both Carlin cars pitting under yellow for fuel, tires, and front wing adjustments, the field was back to green.
With 55 laps to go, Kimball and Chilton had pushed forward and were running in 13th and 15th respectively until contact between the No. 12 and No. 19 cars brought out the final yellow of the race on Lap 205. Both Kimball and Chilton were called back into pit lane under yellow for their final stops of the night and they would take the restart in 10th and 13th. With five laps to go, Kimball was holding strong at 10th and Chilton had made up another position and was running 12th. Kimball and Chilton would take the checkered flag in 10th and 12th recording the team’s third career top-10 finish in the Verizon IndyCar Series and fourth top-12 finishes in the last two consecutive races.
Kimball shared his excitement about the team’s third top-10 finish of the season, “Tonight was tough, with the tires degrading and the car sliding around more and more as the stint went on. The nice thing about the No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet, actually both Carlin cars, is that they were stable all race. I was confident in what the car was going to be able to do. That really comes down to the preparation that the team has put into making sure that every time I roll out of pit lane they’ve given me the absolute best car that they can. It feels like these top-10 finishes are starting to be a habit and we’ll just keep moving forward from here.”
“It was a long day in the office. Sometimes this race feels as challenging as Indy,” said Chilton about the night race. “We knew coming into this race it was going to have its curve balls. I felt like we handled everything thrown our way tonight pretty well. Our tires lasted longer than most people – I think we might’ve done one of the longest stints. I struggled with ultimate lap pace, but from midway onward we had pretty good speed. It was more to do with just strategy at that point. We were three laps down and we were able to get ourselves to one lap down. We had some good pit stops and we had a couple of good overtakes. We’ll take P12 for sure for the No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet, especially considering where we started. We’ll have a nice midseason break here next week and we’ll come back stronger in Road America.”
The Carlin INDYCAR team will be back on track at Road America for the Kohler Grand Prix on Sunday, June 24th for the 10th round of the Verizon IndyCar Series.