Charlie Kimball isn't planning on slowing down and sitting on his accomplishments after getting off to the best start of his three-year IndyCar Series career this season.
He is feeling a surge of momentum entering this weekend's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and rightfully so. He enters Long Beach sixth in the IndyCar standings and is fresh off a fourth-place finish at Barber Motorsports Park where he also qualified for his first-ever Firestone Fast Six.
Kimball attributes the fast start to a "really intensive self-evaluation" that took place after last season's finale at Auto Club Speedway, where everyone from Kimball to Ganassi engineering and management entered into a brainstorming session to decide how to proceed as soon as 2013 began.
And now that expectations are starting to be fulfilled, Kimball is striving to forget it ever happened, endeavoring to start fresh each weekend for the remainder of the season.
"You have to forget about the results a little bit," Kimball said during Wednesday's IndyCar Series teleconference. "You have to take the positives, learn from the mistakes, and move forward... So I think you take those lessons, remember them, and apply them, and that's how you build momentum."
While Kimball is proud of what his team accomplished at two weeks ago in Alabama, he believes it doesn't mean much once the next event begins. Everything starts fresh and there are an evolving set of challenges and obstacles to overcome.
"That's the hardest part of having such a good result -- moving forward afterwards," Kimball said. "We almost have to forget about it, move forward, and focus on what went well and what we can improve upon and apply that.
"These points are in the bank. They are in my championship total but that doesn't affect anything as far as how I approach this weekend."
There are certain expectations that are placed on a driver when he drives for Chip Ganassi in the IndyCar Series and Kimball is aware of the inherent pressure. His first season with the team came in 2011 and served as a learning process. Last season delivered additional challenges in a new car and a broken hand that caused him to miss the race in Mid-Ohio and Kimball finished 19th in the standings - just as he did in 2011.
Kimball is well aware of the pressure but also the opportunity 2013 represents in establishing a competitive identity in IndyCar and he expects to capitalize.
"This is my third year," Kimball said. "I'm not a rookie and I'm not a sophomore anymore. We have the experience to run up front and it's time we did that. I think Barber proved that we can run up front and we need to do that consistently now."
The green flag for the Honda Grand Prix of Long Beach is set for 4 p.m. EST this Sunday, Apr. 20. Will Power is the defending race winner.