J.R. Hildebrand Finishes 11th in the Honda Indy Edmonton

The IZOD IndyCar Rookie of the Year Points Leader Has Moved Up a
Total of 64 Positions in Six Non-Oval Starts

Rookie IndyCar Driver J.R. Hildebrand from Sausalito, California.

EDMONTON, Alberta (July 24, 2011) – National Guard Panther Racing driver JR Hildebrand climbed the grid yet again Sunday during the Honda Indy Edmonton, where the IZOD IndyCar Series rookie climbed a total of 13 positions for an 11th-place finish on the City Centre Airport circuit. Hildebrand has now improved his finishing position relative to where he qualified by a total of 64 positions in his six road/street course starts; St. Pete (+13), Barber (+2), Long Beach (+10), Brazil (+12), Toronto (+14) and now Edmonton (+13). Hildebrand has also completed 100 percent of the possible 495 laps held this season on road and street courses.

After starting in the 24th position, JR moved up to 15th by the team’s first pit stop during a full-course caution on Lap 26. He later passed Marco Andretti into Turn Five on Lap 41 to move up to 13th position, with several cars ahead of him running an alternate fuel strategy. Hildebrand advanced up to 12th position when Alex Tagliani had to pit for fuel and with three laps remaining JR made a move to pass former Panther driver Vitor Meira into the last corner to help secure his final finishing position of 11th.

The National Guard Panther Racing team currently ranks in the ninth position in the IZOD IndyCar Series points standings, and in 11 starts this season has collected four Top Ten and two Top Five finishes. Hildebrand is tied for ninth with Helio Castroneves, and is just six points behind Graham Rahal, who is in the eighth position. Hildebrand also extended his lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year points’ championship by 39 points over fellow rookie James Hinchcliffe.

Team Penske driver Will Power captured the victory and was joined on the podium by teammate Castroneves and current championship points leader Dario Franchitti of Ganassi Racing.

JR Hildebrand, No. 4 National Guard Dallara Honda:

“The thing for me that’s encouraging, and encouraging for everybody on the National Guard Panther team is we had a really fast race car out there. We rolled out this weekend and thought we were looking OK and then kinda lost track of it in the second practice and in qualifying, but made some changes this morning and started to get it back and, man, during the race I felt like I had as quick a race car as lot of the guys that were running up front. As far as temporary circuits go, I feel like this is the best race car I’ve had in all of those events. That’s good and it definitely and it allowed me to be aggressive and allowed me to make some good passes on-track; setting guys up, braking late and getting by them and pulling away – so that always makes your day a lot more exciting.”


– Panther Racing, Press Release

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