WEST ALLIS, Wis. — On the 10-year anniversary of his high school graduation, IndyCar Series driver Charlie Kimball doesn't regret holding off on college to pursue a career in racing.
Kimball was accepted to Stanford but took a two-year deferral. Kimball has spent the last five years in IndyCar and is now in his third year driving for Chip Ganassi Racing.
He still has educational goals, and believes he'll someday pursue a college degree.
"I'd love to go back to college – I don't know if I'd study mechanical engineering having lived it through racing, or study something else fun like math or science," Kimball said. "Renaissance Art History sounds like the seventh circle of hell to me, so if I do go back to school, it's going to be something I want to learn about and contribute somehow.
"I'd like to do more than just an undergraduate degree at some point. If it's a master in theoretical mathematics or applied mathematics, game theory, it will be something really cool to me."
Kimball said he's not sure he'd pursue Stanford again because with all his real-life experience the institution itself isn't as important as it was when he was picked up his high school diploma on June 13, 2003.
"Going back to college now or whenever I'm done racing, when I want to go back to college, I'll be in a position of wanting to go back and wanting to learn with this non-classroom knowledge and experience," he said. "In high school it's all about the name of where you go. With a little bit of age and maturity, it's about what you put in and what you get out of it than where you go."
But as the son of an engineer with high interest in math, Kimball believes his background has already helped him in his racing career. He said he "speaks engineer" better than the average driver and it's helped him communicate with his race team.
"The translation sometimes takes less time and shortens the `getting-to-know-you phase' with my engineers through the years," Kimball said. "Sometimes it is a hindrance, though, because I know just enough to be dangerous."
Kimball is in the midst of his best season to date in IndyCar and goes into Saturday's race at the Milwaukee Mile ranked 11th in the standings. He has three top-10 finishes in eight races, but said he's not ready to celebrate yet.
"I think the season has been good, not great. The momentum is better than it ever has been," he said. "The atmosphere within the team is continuing to stay strong and we have the belief that we will continue to be up front fighting. We were so disappointed last weekend at Texas to have what we thought was a top-10 car and get caught out by two yellows that put us two laps down and that's where we spent the whole race."