INDIANAPOLIS – After years of competing overseas in Europe, Carlin came over to the United States with big dreams of being among the top Verizon IndyCar Series team. They dreamed of rivaling teams like Penske, Ganassi and Andretti for INDYCAR supremacy. But, first things first, lets do it right.
Carlin, jumped into Indy Lights competition in 2015. They’d remain there for 2016 and 2017 too. But, in the offseason, it was a perfect storm for them to move up. Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball were let go from their Ganassi rides. They had funding. Plus, the series was debuting a new car for 2018 as well. While there would be a steep learning curve, they wouldn’t be as far behind everyone else than they would have if they came in for the 2017 or 2019 seasons.
The first race was run last weekend and Carlin had a good, but not pleasing debut.
Max Chilton brought his No. 59 Chevrolet home 19th, while his teammate Charlie Kimball finished one spot behind in 20th. Chilton, wasn’t thrilled with a 19th place finish, but he sees growth among the team.
“We just finished our first race ever for the Carlin INDYCAR team,” said Chilton. “The No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet started 20th, but we finished 19th so we moved forward one position. It was a long hard race. I think it was around two hours and 20 minutes and there were probably six or seven yellow sessions, so it was really hard to keep our tires up to temperature which was something we were struggling with all day. When the tires were in, we had good performance so we made gains throughout the weekend. Considering this was Carlin’s first INDYCAR race, I’d say it wasn’t a bad showing at all. We definitely have work to do and we aren’t where we want to be yet. I think all-around we did a good job and we’ll make sure we’re ready for Phoenix.”
Kimball on the other hand, was a bit frustrated with his 20th place run in Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Pete.
“Honestly it was a disappointing day results-wise,” Kimball said. “At Carlin, you don’t come to the track to finish 19th and 20th, our goal really is to be fighting for race wins and podiums. We came into this weekend with limited knowledge and experience in the series, but I’d say we probably doubled or even tripled our knowledge on the Indy cars here in St. Pete. I’m looking forward to going back and getting with the engineers, learning, digesting, and figuring out what we need to do in the future. We’ve got a couple of tests before the Phoenix race and we tested there a few weeks back, so I know that we’ll be more competitive at the next race and continue to work our way forward.”
The duo were always around 19th to 22nd in every session. Both were also within a spot or two of one another.
In the two Friday practices, they were 20th (Chilton) and 21st (Kimball) in session No. 1 and 19th (Kimball) and 22nd (Chilton) in the second one. On Saturday, they were 19th (Kimball) and 22nd (Chilton) too.
While it wasn’t a race that saw them compete for a top 15, it’s a start.