Indyfest kicks off in Milwaukee
Indyfest got off to a rockin' start on Saturday, with fans getting a firsthand look at what goes into an Indy car race. The Milwaukee Mile holds a special place in the Andretti family's heart, as it is the only course where in one single ride, the three top winners were all part of the Andretti family. And that's part of why Andretti Motorsports has taken the reigns of the event, not only hosting a slew of teams but also entering four teams into the weekend's race.
The Milwaukee Mile may only be a flat, one mile loop, but drivers we spoke with say it can be a very challenging track. And at Indyfest, they show off those skills, lap after lap, holding strong until 250 miles are completed.
Kevin Healy, general manager of Andretti motorsports says the drivers who compete are not only good at what they do but have to constantly manage their fitness levels; from what they eat to how much they work out and stay active off the track. He says some are even triathletes.
Winning driver Charlie Kimball knows that struggle all too well, but the challenges for him are even greater. At 22 years old, after giving up a chance to study engineering at the prestigious Stanford University to take on racing full time, Kimball found out he had type one diabetes.
At the time, he wasn't sure if he would ever race again. Two hours of continuous, strenuous driving depletes much of the body's resources, with drivers losing eight to ten pounds during each race--that could be fatal for someone with diabetes.
But Kimball didn't let that stop him, in fact, he found a way to make it all work, and has become so good at it, he performs better than he did before his diagnosis.
Kimball says much of the management actually comes in preparation. Before a race, he monitors his water and glucose levels closely, and also uses an insulin pen.
His race car is also built a little differently. Instead of just having one hose snake into his helmet to give him water during a race, Kimball has two: one with water but also one that contains orange juice, to get his sugar levels back up quickly.
He monitors all of that by wearing a sensor that links up to his car. As he drives, his blood glucose level is displayed on the steering wheel.
Kimball says, he doesn't feel like his diagnosis puts him at a disadvantage in his career; rather, it makes him a better competitor because he is even more keenly aware of how his body works.
But he says, no matter what place he finishes in, every completed race means a lot, to him and all of those who have shown him support.