Wednesday, February 29, 2012

From one racer to another

One of the most rewarding parts of my job is the opportunity to meet others like me who have diabetes. Maybe they’ve been recently diagnosed, or perhaps they’ve been managing diabetes for years. Either way, whenever I get the chance to share my story I hope that I’m able to give them a bit of confidence to not let anything hold them back from what they want to do.

Recently I was connected with Lyle, a 68-year-old aspiring drag racer who has managed type 1 diabetes for 35 years with no major complications. I met Lyle’s nutritionist at a diabetes event in Montana. She remembered me and thought I might be a good resource for Lyle as he starts drag racing.

Lyle, an IndyCar fan for about 10 years, knew a little bit about my story but wanted to know more about how I manage diabetes while behind the wheel. He was worried about possible pushback on medical clearance because of his diabetes (if you can drive a quarter mile in less than 10 seconds, you have to be licensed by the NHRA).

We were both diagnosed after our teen years, and we were able to have a good open discussion about how we manage diabetes and find some similarities and differences. Like I told Lyle, I work with IndyCar medical staff, my own doctors and the team to ensure that I’m safe in and out of the racecar. I also recommended that he give the NHRA medical team a call… it never hurts to ask about specific requirements, and typically most are willing to work through any special precautions as long as they know ahead of time. As I’ve said many times before, there’s no reason diabetes should stop you from pursuing your dreams.

I’m really glad Lyle reached out to me, and hopefully I was able to give him advice (and maybe even a bit of courage) to do what he loves!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Here, there, and everywhere!

I’m in for a busy couple of weeks, but they’re filled with lots of time in the No. 83 car so I can’t complain!

On Monday and Tuesday, I’ll join IndyCar officials, team reps and of course my fellow drivers at the annual “State of INDYCAR” address. It will be great to see everyone after the off-season. I know we’re all ready to get back to business, and I’m looking forward to hearing plans for the 2012 season.

My bags are already packed for a two-week tour. I’ll head out west on Tuesday for a test at Fontana (always good to be back on the West Coast!) before going down south for testing at Barber on Monday. My birthday falls on one of the test days at Barber this year. But again, I’m not complaining—being in an IndyCar is probably one of the best ways to spend a birthday! After that, it’s down to Sebring for another two-day test session.

Right after we finish up at Sebring, I’m off to St. Louis for an event with JDRF. Then it’s back home to meet with my engineers. Once I’m finally back in Indy again, we’ll have about four weeks before the St. Pete race weekend. Can you believe it?! Hope to see you all there!

P.S. Yes, Mom, I’ve packed enough socks for the long trip.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Racing around the Sunshine State

I’m back in Indy after a week-long stint in Florida. Nothing like a little sunshine, racing and time in front of a camera to get you excited for the season to start!

2012 No. 83 Novo Nordisk car
The first stop on my tour of Florida was Orlando where I did some pre-season photo shoots and b-roll for my sponsor Novo Nordisk for their 2012 media and marketing activation. I can’t say too much yet, but I’m stoked about everything they have planned for this year! In case you aren’t following me on Twitter (and why aren’t you?! @CharlieKimball), you can see a sneak peek of the new paint scheme in the photo to the left.

There was some rain in the forecast, so our schedule was changed up a bit to make sure we got the on-track shots in the sunshine. All in all, everything went really well and I think everyone involved is pleased with the results. I can’t wait to share the final product with you guys… stay tuned!

After we wrapped up in Orlando, I was off to Daytona to cheer on the Chip Ganassi Racing drivers at the 24 Hour race. I had a ton of fun hanging out on the pit stand with my engineer Brad. I was lucky enough to wear a headset and hear what was happening over the radio—the spotters, drivers and crew members. It was awesome to listen in during the race, especially when the car was on pit lane for fueling and driver changes. I was most impressed with the crew… the fuel stints are 40 minutes apart at most so they hardly get any sleep over the 24 hour race, all while staying on their toes and keeping the car in good condition. True professionals!

Congrats to Justin Wilson for the win… it’s always great to have an IndyCar driver represented on the podium!

As you can tell, things are definitely starting to ramp up. I’ll have a few more tests this month and then before we know it, the season will start in St. Pete. 51 days and counting!