Charlie Kimball makes history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
A driver with a serious medical condition is competing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Charlie Kimball is one of the rookies debuting in the 500 this year, and in this 100th-year anniversary, he's also making track history.
Rookie Charlie Kimball, 26, is poised to do what no one has done, and medical experts are taking note.
"Charlie is the first person in the history of IndyCar racing to drive with type one diabetes," said Dr. Michael Olinger, League medical director.
Kimball was diagnosed over three years ago, well into his racing career. From the onset, he regulated his blood sugar with injectable products from NovoNordisk.
So far, Kimball has raced for two hours and 15 minutes. But the 500 can take up to 3.5 hours.
"It will be the longest race I have competed in," said Kimball.
"I never backed down from a challenge," said lead engineer Brad Goldberg, who works with Kimball to secure his wireless blood glucose monitor to the steering wheel. Assuming Kimball qualifies, he'll be joined in the pits on race day by Kimball's doctors who will monitor the glucose numbers.
"She is focused on that and all I have to focus on is driving at over 220 miles per hour," said Kimball.
For the race, Kimball's helmet will offer two drink options - one with sugar and one just water.
"If it is hot I can lose up to ten pounds in body weight just from sweating," he said.
Kimball passed his required physical to enter the field.
"The reason we felt comfortable allowing Charlie to do it is because of the control that he has over his diabetes and technologies that he uses to monitor his diabetes while he is one the car and in the track," said Dr. Olinger.
Kimball say's he's never had a diabetes-related issue during a race and he is working hard to keep it that way.
"With good management, good routine and good discipline you can do anything you want in life," he said.