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Indy Car News
Kimball claims first IndyCar win at Mid-Ohio
Lexington, OH (Sports Network) - Charlie Kimball became a first-time race winner and continued Chip Ganassi Racing's latest dominance in the IndyCar Series by taking Sunday's 90-lap event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
In a race that ran caution-free, Kimball passed Simon Pagenaud and took the lead for good with 18 laps remaining. He beat Pagenaud to the finish line by 5.5 seconds for his maiden IndyCar win in his 45th start.
Kimball also gave Chip Ganassi Racing its fourth consecutive victory this season as well as its fifth win in a row at this 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course. Scott Dixon had won the previous three races (Pocono and both weekend events in Toronto last month). Kimball became the fourth first-time winner in the series this year, joining James Hinchcliffe (St. Petersburg, Fla.), Takuma Sato (Long Beach, Calif.) and Pagenaud (Detroit/Race 2).
"It's nice when the team gives you such a great car," said Kimball, who led a race-high 46 laps in his No. 83 Honda-powered Ganassi car. "All I needed to do was to hit the lap times they needed me to. We just kept pushing the limit."
Kimball pitted for the third and final time on lap 65, which gave Pagenaud the lead. Kimball then caught Pagenaud and overtook him on lap 73, just seconds after Pagenaud had exited pit lane for the last time.
"Simon was on a similar (pit) strategy," Kimball noted. "I caught traffic at just some of the wrong times, so that meant that he came out of pit lane ahead of me. But I had the momentum to take the lead and make the pass for what turned out to be the win."
Pagenaud made his first podium appearance since his victory in June at Detroit.
"Charlie did a fantastic job today," Pagenaud said. "I gave it my all. Charlie was bold enough to stick it on the inside, and I didn't think he would make it, but he did. So congratulations to him."
Dario Franchitti, who is Kimball's teammate at Ganassi and the 2010 race winner at Mid-Ohio, finished third. Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay, the pole sitter and defending IndyCar champion, were fourth and fifth, respectively.
Dixon, who was attempting to win his fourth straight race, finished seventh. He had won four of the first six IndyCar events at Mid-Ohio, including victories here the previous two years.
Helio Castroneves, the current points leader, finished sixth after starting 14th. Castroneves' advantage over Dixon is now 31 points. Hunter-Reay is 65 behind the leader.
"I know that it was only a sixth place finish, but it could win us the championship at the end of the year," Castroneves said. "I have said all along that we will continue to do our thing and not change a thing, and it will pay off at the end of the day."
Justin Wilson finished eighth, while Marco Andretti and James Hinchcliffe completed the top-10. Tony Kanaan placed last in the 24-car field after he experienced a loose wheel and pulled off course on lap 65. Kanaan, the 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner, was the only driver who did not finish this race.
08/04 20:45:50 ET
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