IZOD IndyCar Series, Panther Racing Move to Bullring at Iowa Speedway Next Weekend
WEST ALLIS, WI. – (June 19, 2011) – The Milwaukee 225 ended early for Panther Racing and National Guard driver JR Hildebrand after contact with the outside retaining wall on Lap 122 concluded the IZOD IndyCar Series rookie’s day in the 21st position. A faulty weight jacker during the race made for a difficult day for Hildebrand, who had to fight the car’s handling from an early point in the race on The Milwaukee Mile’s challenging one-mile oval.
The finish moves Hildebrand into the 11th spot in the IZOD IndyCar Series points championship, and the 23-year-old remains the leader in the Rookie of the Year chase, where he leads James Hinchcliffe by a total of 17 points.
Hildebrand started the race in the 18th position but was able to advance several spots quickly at the start of the 225-lap event. A malfunction in the car’s on-board weight jacker at some point during the early portions of the event caused the handling on the No. 4 car to get very unpredictable, which is especially challenging at a short flat track like Milwaukee. After the first caution of the race from Laps 1-6, a long green-flag run caused the team to lose a lap and then following a yellow for contact involving Ana Beatriz, Hildebrand made his first pit stop of the day on Lap 79.
On Lap 122 leader Tony Kanaan passed Hildebrand in Turn Three which caused Hildebrand to go high in the corner and the car got into the marbles and slid into the outside retaining wall, ending the day for the Panther team in 21st position.
Ganassi Racing driver Dario Franchitti captured the race victory and was joined on the podium by Oriol Servia and the driver of the No. 38 car.
The IZOD IndyCar Series will now travel to Iowa Speedway for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 which will be broadcast live on VERSUS,Saturday, June 25th at 8:00 pm (ET) with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 94 and Sirius channel 212.
JR Hildebrand, No. 4 National Guard Dallara Honda:
“I was struggling with the car a little bit, for sure. At that point, I’m kind of trying to stay out of my own way out there. We’re just trying to survive through the race. With the leaders going by, a lot of the guys can stay on the bottom and some of the guys just sort of can’t. It’s not their fault. I just got through with TK (Tony Kanaan), and I got shoved up in the marbles. Once I got up there, I couldn’t get it back.”
– Panther Racing, Press Release