IndyCar Driver Charlie Kimball Races with Diabetes

IndyCar driver Charlie Kimball has something that affects many people in our area.  About six years ago he was diagnosed with Type I diabetes.  Charlie made light of his disease and found a sponsor in Novo Nordisk, a pharmaceutical company that makes diabetes supplies, to run in this past weekend’s Pocono IndyCar 500.

“It’s a great partnership.  It’s something that I use their products to manage my blood sugars everyday, if I’m at the race track or at home,” said Kimball.

Novo Nordisk’s sponsorship is unlike any other, because Kimball has to use the products.  He’s also an advocate of the disease, trying to bring awareness to the importance of taking care of your body before it becomes a bigger issue to your health.

“It comes down to managing my hydration, my nutrition, my blood sugars, using the insulin I take, that if I’ve done my job managing it, when I get in the car all I have to think about is racing.”

Anyone with diabetes can tell you managing it is the most important part, but how do you do it when you’re driving 200 miles an hour in a car?

“The technology is a big part of Verizon IndyCar Series and to be able to integrate my continuous glucose monitor with my electronics system, so on my steering wheel I have speed, lap time, oil pressure, blood sugar, water temperature, car and body data right there together.   Not only can I see it, but it’s transmitted live back to the pit lane so my engineers can keep track of it just like they keep track of tire pressures and fuel level.”

Charlie’s preventative maintenance is important before he gets into the car to race, but there is always a chance that something could happen mid-race.  His in-car hydration system has orange juice, along with water, to try and raise his levels.  Luckily he’s never had to resort to using it, leaving him fully capable to focus on driving for the checkers.

“Being able to do what I love and drive race cars is fantastic.  With the opportunity to use that as a vehicle for my message and share my story and hopefully encourage kids to chase their dreams is extremely fulfilling.  If I finish first or 21st, the fact that I’m out racing is a victory for so many people with diabetes.”

Kimball completed Sunday’s race finishing 17th without a medical emergency.

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