Phoenix notes: Kimball honored by Arizona statehouse


Charlie KimballAVONDALE, Arizona – Charlie Kimball doesn’t get nervous driving an Indy car at more than 200 mph. He doesn’t flinch when speaking to groups on his life as a Type 2 diabetic.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver did admit to a bit of trepidation Thursday when he was asked to lead the Arizona House of Representatives the Pledge of Allegiance. A guest of Rep. Heather Carter, the driver of the No. 83 Tresiba Honda was given permission to be on the chamber floor and guide the 61 members of the house in reciting the pledge to open their day’s session.

“I led the Pledge of Allegiance, which was really cool,” Kimball said today at Phoenix Raceway, site of this weekend’s Verizon IndyCar Series race, the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix. “I don’t think I’ve said it since about eighth grade, so I might have had to Google it before we got going.”

Rep. Carter is a leader on Arizona legislative health-related committees, including the diabetes caucus. She invited Kimball, the seventh-year Indy car driver, to meet fellow legislators as he advocates nationwide for diabetes awareness and pre-emptive care.

“Everywhere in the U.S. is facing this diabetes epidemic and here in the Southwest, in Arizona with the different ethnic populations, there is a little higher incidence of diabetes occurrence,” said Kimball, whose car sponsor is an insulin product from Novo Nordisk. “And especially some of the farming communities, the co-ops, the lower income areas in the desert, it’s really hard sometimes to get good healthcare.

“I’m very appreciative as a member of the diabetes community of the work they’ve done to drive progress for that community.”

Kimball was also appreciative to be presented with a state proclamation recognizing the Californian’s achievements in both racing and raising diabetes awareness. He ranked the honor right up there with throwing out the first pitch at Dodgers Stadium, attending the NHL All-Star Game and visiting the Pennsylvania statehouse.

“It was really neat for them to recognize INDYCAR and recognize what I do within the diabetes field,” Kimball said. “But the proclamation from a state like that, recognizing my work, it was very, very cool.”

Oberto, Circle K sponsor Andretti’s No. 27 Honda

Marco AndrettiSeattle-based all natural beef jerky company Oberto, along with Circle K, is taking over the paint scheme of Marco Andretti’s No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda this weekend for the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix at Phoenix Raceway.  

“Oberto has been a strong partner for us on the Global Rallycross front and we’re excited to welcome them to our INDYCAR program as well as Marco’s primary sponsor for Phoenix,” said Andretti Autosport CEO Michael Andretti. “We’re looking forward to success for Oberto and Circle K on two fronts this weekend – with Marco in Phoenix, and (rallycross driver) Scott Speed in Memphis.”  

Andretti enters the weekend 17th in the Verizon IndyCar Series driver standings. In his 12th season the 30-year-old is preparing for his 187th Verizon IndyCar Series career start. The third-generation Indy car driver hasn’t missed a start since his 2006 debut and sits just 10 laps away from 1,000 career laps led.  

“As Oberto continues to expand our footprint in the racing community, we are thrilled that our partnership with Andretti – one of the greatest names in racing – is growing,” said Tom Hernquist, CEO of Oberto Brands. “We are excited to have the Andretti family help us deliver our message and further educate consumers on the power of our all-natural Oberto products. Their dedication to the racing industry and the efforts they put in both on and off the track perfectly exemplifies what we stand for here at Oberto.”

Newest ‘Wimpy Kid’ film to be screened at Indy on grand prix weekend

Hollywood will come to Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, May 12, as a special, pre-release red-carpet screening of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” will be shown at the track’s Pagoda Plaza during the INDYCAR Grand Prix weekend.

The film, scheduled for national release on May 19, is the fourth movie based upon the wildly popular children’s book series by author Jeff Kinney.

Among the celebrities attending the screening will be stars Alicia Silverstone, who plays Susan Heffley in the film, and Jason Ian Drucker, who plays the “Wimpy Kid” character Greg Heffley. Others in attendance will include author Kinney and director David Bowers.

Silverstone and Kinney will wave the green flag to start the fourth annual INDYCAR Grand Prix on the IMS road course on May 13. Kinney also will hold a book signing on the morning of the race near Pagoda Plaza.

“The addition of a red-carpet screening for ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul’ further enhances the INDYCAR Grand Prix weekend as one of the best family-oriented events of the year in Indianapolis,” said Doug Boles, IMS president. “It’s a perfect fit and a great honor for us to host this event featuring the stars from such a popular movie and book series on both Friday and Saturday (of race weekend).”

Activities for the screening on May 12 start at 7:30 p.m. ET, in advance of the 8:30 p.m. screening of the highly anticipated 20th Century Fox film. Tickets for the family-friendly event are free but very limited. Tickets will be distributed through the IMS Kids Club and INDYCAR Nation fan communities, media and social media promotions and at upcoming IMS events. More details will be shared at and via social media as they become available.

Visit to buy tickets and learn more about the INDYCAR Grand Prix on May 12-13 and the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on May 28.

Drivers test out new Phoenix Raceway seating

Seven Verizon IndyCar Series drivers got a taste today of what the new grandstand seating will be like at Phoenix Raceway upon completion of his renovation project in November 2018.

Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden, Will Power and Simon Pagenaud, Dale Coyne Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais and Ed Jones and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal were able to “test drive” prototype seats that are part of the Phoenix Raceway Project powered by DC Solar. The $178 million modernization project will relocate the 1.022-mile oval’s start/finish line to near the dogleg in Turn 2, build new grandstands in Turn 2, remove older grandstands along the current frontstretch and completely redesign the track’s infield to make it more fan-friendly.

The entire 21-driver field for Saturday’s Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix signed the first 30-foot steel beam that will be used in construction of the new grandstand. Fans will also be able to sign the beam this weekend.

Phoenix Raceway Project

From the fans