When Charlie Kimball was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in October 2007, it "felt like someone pushed pause on my life."
But Kimball argued and doctors agreed that the serious autoimmune disorder shouldn't have to curtail his racing career. Managing his blood-sugar level while in competition was the key. Kimball's story of racing with diabetes is told during the latest installment of "INDYCAR 36."
The show, which airs at 6:30 p.m. (ET) May 4 on NBC Sports Network, goes behind the scenes and on the track with the driver of the No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing car during the IZOD IndyCar Series' most recent event at Long Beach, Calif.
Kimball, of nearby Camarillo, Calif., had more than 60 friends, including his endocrinologist, Dr. Anne L. Peters, and family members attend the race in which he started ninth.
"We were able to follow Charlie with what he does to prepare for the on-track competition and also his diabetes care," said Dan Huber, senior supervising producer for IMS Productions. "The message he got across is that it's his third year in the series so he's not a rookie, he's not a sophomore driver with a new car, it's time for him to step up and get results on the track."
Kimball qualified a career-best fifth at Barber Motorsports Park in April, which led to a fourth-place finish on the road course. Two on-track incidents at Long Beach negated his solid qualifying position and he finished 21st. He advanced two positions to finish 12th in the season opener in St. Petersburg, Fla.
"He's kind of grown into an ambassador for diabetes awareness and education," Huber added. "He's very active meeting fans. He's not just a race car driver with diabetes now; this is his way to make a difference."
Kimball is among the 25 drivers who will compete in the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle on May 5 (11 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Network).