Charlie Kimball: Diabetes in the Fast Lane

Recent Update on Charlie Kimball – WHAT CHARLIE IS UP TO NOW

Charlie Kimball, IZOD IndyCar Series racecar driver since 2011, and diabetic since 2007, is gaining more success recently. In 2013, Kimball debuted in his first 24 Hours of Daytona competition he was on the winning team. On August 14, 2013, he joined the Honda Indy 200 and won his first ever IndyCar race. Since receiving a diagnosis for diabetes, Charlie Kimball has become an advocate and avid supporter communities, families, and friends with diabetes. In the “Race with Insulin Crew,” he expressed his passion to help others and change their lives with his story. On November 14, 2013, World Diabetes Day, Kimball participated in activities in Harrisburg at the Pennsylvania State Capitol.


Charlie Kimball is living his dream. He is a professional race car driver now competing for a title in the Firestone Indy Lights Championship. If Charlie is successful at this stage, his next stop could be the Indy 500 Race Circuit. Clearly, diabetes hasn’t slowed him down.

Even though he is only 24, Charlie has been at his craft for more than a decade. Charlie started racing go karts at age 9 as a way for him and his father to spend time together and enjoy each other’s company. His father is a mechanical engineer who designs race cars, so for Charlie, open wheel racing was a big part of his childhood and became his greatest passion.

When Charlie graduated from high school, he had the opportunity to move to England and continue racing cars, but it meant deferring his admission to Stanford. His parents, however, were supportive.


It was in England on October 16, 2007, that Charlie was diagnosed with diabetes during a routine checkup. Charlie told the doctor that he had been drinking water constantly, up to 6 bottles of water a night. He was going to the bathroom very frequently and had lost a lot of weight in the previous couple of weeks. After some more questions and some blood work, the doctor confirmed that Charlie had diabetes. Charlie was understandably very shaken, and the next day, he saw an endocrinologist to ask the most important question: “Could he continue driving race cars?”

The doctor reassured Charlie that he would be able to get back into racing. He explained that world-class athletes with diabetes around the world were accomplishing amazing things, and professional race car drivers shouldn’t be any different.

In an interview, Charlie said, “At that point, my world stopped spinning out of control, and I had a road to walk down to get healthy again, to get back in the race car and to keep chasing my dream. And now when I tell people I was diagnosed with diabetes, the common response is, ‘Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.’ And I’m not! I think I’m a better athlete, a stronger competitor and a better person than I was before. I enjoy every moment in the race car even more because I almost lost it. So every time I drive the car, the passion is stronger than it ever has been.”


Per the suggestion of Dr. Anne Peters, Charlie’s endocrinologist at the University of Southern California, whom he calls “the crew chief of his healthcare team,” Charlie wears a continuous glucose monitoring system with a sensor on his body, and he uses Velcro to attach the readout to the steering wheel. This way, he can keep track of his glucose levels during a race.

As a safety measure, if those numbers are falling more aggressively than Charlie wants, he has a beverage bottle mounted in his car with a tube that runs to his helmet. In an emergency, that allows him to drink orange juice or some other glucose-rich sports drink if needed to boost his blood glucose during a race.

His first race back after he was diagnosed with diabetes was in April 2008 in Germany. Charlie finished second, which not only proved to him that he could still drive with diabetes, but that diabetes could have a positive effect on his racing.

“Diabetes was not going to get in the way; it was actually going to help me. I became more aware of how I felt not only in relation to my blood glucose numbers but also to my strength and my hydration and electrolytes, as well as all of the things that make up an athlete’s body. It allowed me to focus more on myself, and to be more aware of my body and make sure that I was in the best physical condition possible,” Charlie said.


On a non-racing day, Charlie tests his blood glucose about four or five times a day, but he is extra vigilant on race days. “On a race day, I’m almost paranoid about testing. I’ll test four to five times in the two hours leading up to the race. I’ll test two hours before, an hour-and-a-half, an hour, 45 minutes, a half-hour, 15 minutes, 10 minutes, 5 minutes, and then just as I’m pulling my gloves on.”

In addition to testing, Charlie takes his daily insulin, Levemir® and NovoLog®, using a pre-filled insulin pen called FlexPen®. The insulin pens are portable and durable enough to make it through the demands of his busy schedule. “When I’m packing to go to the race, I don’t have to worry about putting them in an inflated bag and then wrapping that bag up in clothes before putting it in my backpack. They’re easy to pack, easy to use and discreet. I am on the road a lot, eating out in restaurants, and I have no problem using them when I need to.”

Charlie blogs regularly on his racing website: The blog is all about taking care of his diabetes. One of his sponsors, Novo Nordisk, just launched a “Race with Insulin” Twitter profile,, through which Charlie provides updates directly about his race progress and diabetes management. He wants to encourage people with diabetes to let nothing get in the way of their life’s dreams and goals. “My goal with these tweets is for people to be inspired to do a better job of managing their own healthcare from learning my story and from what I do.”  Celebrities with diabetes can make it work without sacrificing their dreams and so can you!

  • Register For This Twitter Chat Series

    When you register, we will send you timely reminders about upcoming Twitter chats via email.

    Simply enter your email address below and click on the "Register Me" button.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Constance Brown-Riggs, MSEd, RD, CDE, CDN—an award-winning RD, certified diabetes educator, and past national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is the author of The African American Guide to Living Well With Diabetes, which received the Favorably Reviewed designation from the American Association of Diabetes Educators, and Eating Soulfully and Healthfully with Diabetes.

Dr. Lori Shemek, PhD, CNC, CLC, the best-selling author of “Fire-Up Your Fat Burn! and leading health and weight loss expert, is also known as “The Inflammation Terminator.” She has made it her mission to educate the public on the toxic effects of certain foods and lifestyle choices and how they create inflammation in the body. She is a leading authority on inflammation and its role in weight loss, preventing disease and optimizing health.

Rebecca Bitzer – MS, RD/LD, CEDRD is an award-winning Registered Dietitian, writer, speaker, blogger, and REBEL Dietitian business owner. Rebecca and her team of six Registered Dietitians have counseled thousands of clients struggling with diabetes for over twenty-five years. They work closely with each other along with internists, endocrinologists, therapists, and families.

Maureen Sullivan – RN, CDE has worked for many years as a Registered Nurse, most of them in emergency and trauma services. She is a Certified Emergency Nurse, Certified Diabetes Educator, and the former manager of a hospital stroke program. Maureen’s wealth of knowledge, passion for nursing and education, and ability to engage people makes her an excellent teacher and a captivating lecturer. Recently, Maureen has been concentrating on writing, speaking and teaching, as well as working on her award-winning weekly podcast, “The Health and Humor Show.”

Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN is a nutrition communications specialist, registered dietitian in private practice, social media consultant, speaker, spokesperson and corporate consultant. She is currently the owner of Nutrition Starring YOU, LLC and Lauren strongly believes that we should “Think Healthy, not Skinny”, and “EveryBODY is unique, your diet should be too”. Lauren was co-host of the Family Food Experts Kitchen radio show, available for listening on iHeart Radio and iTunes. Also known as one of the “NutritionBabes”, Lauren co-founded, a popular Health and Wellness website in 2009. was voted one of Healthline’s Top 100 Health Blogs in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Mark Heyman, PhD, CDE is a clinical health psychologist and the director of the Center for Diabetes and Mental Health (CDMH). In addition to treating patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, Dr. Heyman provides training for health care providers on how to identify and address the emotional and behavioral aspects of diabetes in their patients. He also works with pharmaceutical and medical device companies to help them understand these issues and incorporate this information into their sales, marketing, and patient education materials. He is particularly interested in empirically supported behavioral interventions that promote behavior change and improve physical and mental health in people with diabetes.

Katie Ferraro, MPH, RD, CDE is a nationally-recognized registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and author with an expertise in nutrition communications and curriculum development. She is the co-author of “Diet Therapy in Advanced Practice Nursing” (McGraw Hill, 2014) and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Nutrition at the University of California San Francisco and University of San Diego’s graduate schools of nursing.

Dr. Beverly S. Adler, PhD, CDE (aka “Dr. Bev”) is a clinical psychologist and certified diabetes educator, author and speaker. She specializes treating the emotional issues of people with diabetes. In her private practice, she provides individual, family and/or group therapy utilizing a cognitive behavior therapy orientation, combined with a spiritual approach. Her goal is to empower her patients to manage their diabetes.

Dr. Bev is the author of two self-help diabetes books. She has written numerous articles which are published in print and online – always focused on diabetes from the emotional perspective. She also speaks to audiences of people living with diabetes, as well as, to audiences of healthcare professionals and diabetes educators. Dr. Bev, herself, has been living successfully with type 1 diabetes for 40+ years.

In August 2016, Dr. Bev was honored to receive the “CDE Entrepreneur of the Year” Award from her Metropolitan NY Association of Diabetes Educators.

Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, FAND is an internationally recognized nutrition and diabetes expert with more than two decades experience. Through writing, speaking and one-on-one coaching, Jill empowers people to grab control of their health. She has worked as both a nutrition counselor and a diabetes educator in the hospital and research settings, and now in private practice in Newport News, VA. Jill is known for her practical approach and caring attitude. Her no-nonsense strategies to eating well include foods that both taste good and are good for you.

Marlene Koch (pronounced ‘cook’) is a nationally recognized nutritionist, popular TV personality and New York Times bestselling author. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science. She is a registered dietitian and one of a select group of dietitians to hold an advanced certificate in Child and Adolescent Weight Management from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.

Marlene has taught professional chefs from the American Culinary Federation the principles of healthy cooking and eating. She has been adjunct Nutrition professor and cooking instructor for Columbus State College and the Columbus State Culinary Academy, and she is a nationally recognized expert in weight loss, diabetes, child and adolescent nutrition, and sugar substitutes.

Marlene has sold over one million cookbooks, and is a regular guest on QVC.

Barbara Ruhs – MS, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of Neighborhood Nutrition LLC, a consulting firm focused on providing solutions to help food companies and supermarkets improve consumer health & wellness. She’s a former supermarket dietitian and has run a successful business for 17 years. A leader in the field of nutrition, her mission is to help people by impacting the way food is produced, marketed and sold. She’s a strong advocate for supermarket dietitians and believes the retail food industry has the greatest potential to impact public health.

Cheryl Orlansky has over 25 years of experience in health promotion and chronic disease prevention and management. Her first career as a registered dental hygienist led her towards a path of wellness and nutrition! Her expertise is in diabetes, weight management and cardiovascular disease for individuals and groups. She works in a large private practice including endocrinology, internal medicine, rheumatology, neurology and sleep medicine. She is an award winning dietitian with current leadership positions in state and local dietetics organizations.

She has been interviewed and quoted in media outlets for WebMD, Atlanta Sports and Fitness, Georgia Public Broadcasting, and the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. She has partnered with V-103 Radio to lead supermarket tours as part of a community outreach during National Nutrition Month.

Cheryl helps her clients reach balance through lifestyle choices: cooking and eating, activity and purpose in life.

Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and classically-trained chef. With a passion for helping people (including her father) with diabetes, she’s author of The With or Without Meat Cookbook: The Flexible Approach to Flavorful Diabetes Cooking and the award-winning The All‐Natural Diabetes Cookbook, both published by the American Diabetes Association. Jackie is also author of 1,000 Low-Calorie Recipes and Big Green Cookbook. Her next book, The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook—2nd Edition, was published in 2015.

Nutritionist Rania Batayneh, MPH is the author of the best-selling book, The One One One Diet. She holds a master’s degree in public health nutrition from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and is also a Wellcoaches Certified Health and Wellness Coach endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

OmnichannelHealth Media, publisher of, does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information.