Surprisingly, it's not about some feat in his Chip Ganassi racecar, though he has had a few during this his rookie IndyCar season, which continues at this weekend's Baltimore Grand Prix. Instead, it's about how he is working to use his personal health problem — Type 1 diabetes — to help others.
"I signed a Hero Card for him and I looked him in the eyes and told him, 'Life is not over with this diagnosis.' And his daughter heard me. She keeps that signed autograph card above her bed, reminding her not to ignore her disease, but to not let it stop her from reaching for her dreams. By the time I left, the dad had stood up a little straighter and said, 'Whatever she wants, I will help her to do.'"
Kimball —the first driver to race in the IndyCar series with Type 1 diabetes — tells that story to doctors and nurses and tells them to use him as an antidote for the depression he knows can accompany the initial diagnosis.
His diabetes was diagnosed In 2007. He was 22, and it was a late finding of the disease.
"My first two weeks were really dark days," he said. "For them [others with the disease] to have that tool, my story, it's fantastic. When I started racing, I was like a lot of drivers: It was all about me. About my results, my team and how I was doing. That's still there a little in the background. But now I understand that just being out there is a success to a lot of people. There are parents with daughters who have dreams of being a ballerina, and sons who want to be a racing drivers. To be the guy who sets that precedent is really special."
Before his illness, Kimball became the first American driver in 13 years to win a British Formula Three race, and he was in the middle of the World Series of Renault season in 2007 when his illness was diagnosed and he had to abandon the program. While away, he learned to manage his illness, his diet and his exercise program — all necessary factors in being able to return to racing.
Since his return, Kimball spent another year in European racing and then worked his way through the Indy Lights series and attracted the attention of the Ganassi team last season.
"We knew who Charlie was," said Mitch Davis, Kimball's Ganassi team manager. "Charlie's dad [Gordon Kimball] designed Chip's  Indy car. We watched him grow up, and we're always looking for talent. One day he talked to Chip, and we're really glad to have him, because he keeps getting better in every race."
But for Kimball, whose best finish has been ninth place, racing is more difficult than it is for other drivers.
Kimball's sponsor, Novo Nordisk, makes his insulin and has developed the program that allows him to race. He wears a monitor that continuously tracks his glucose levels and wirelessly transmits the data to a site on his dashboard that gives him a reading.
He checks it every couple of laps, and while most drivers have a bottle of water or Gatorade in their cars to sip from during a race, Kimball has two bottles — one with plain water and the other filled with orange juice or a sports drink with added sugar. When his blood-sugar level is too low, he turns a valve that allows him to sip the sugar-enhanced mixture.
If the sugar water doesn't do the trick, Kimball said the team is ready.
The plan in place calls for front-tire changer Jerry Bouchard to give Kimball a shot of insulin if needed.
"We asked Jerry if he had any problem with giving Charlie a shot," Davis said. "He said, 'No, I can probably handle that.' Charlie's doctor brought an orange for him to practice on, and we did a practice run. Actually, it's probably harder to find a good tire changer than to find someone to hit Charlie with a needle."
Bouchard is the obvious choice for the needle job, Davis said, because he is the crewman closest to the wall. The team keeps the insulin and needle in the pit, and if Kimball needs the shot, he is to radio the pit. Davis estimates it would cost the team "a couple seconds" if they ever had to carry out the plan.
Davis added that the team is working on new telemetry equipment that will include a monitor for Kimball's body levels that will show up on the team's monitors in pit lane.
"If we can do that," Davis said, "then we can tell him what he needs instead of him having to look down, monitor himself and be distracted. If we can do it in the pits, he can concentrate on driving. He's been doing the readouts himself for several years, but at this level, at the speeds we're driving, it is a distraction and at a street race like the one we'll have in Baltimore, the walls are close and every turn requires total concentration."
Davis said the team could have a prototype of the new system to test here.
"Charlie is committed to racing," said Davis. "But to do it, he has to be constantly working on his diet and physical condition because he has to keep [up] his stamina. Keeping his strength up is a primary concern, along with making sure his blood sugar is not fluctuating. If it starts to fluctuate, we couldn't control it and IndyCar officials wouldn't let him drive. He's really conscientious about it, because he wants to win championships."