LOUDON, NH. (August 13, 2011) – National Guard Panther Racing driver JR Hildebrand qualified in the 11th position for tomorrow’s MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where the IZOD IndyCar Series will be returning after a more than decade-long hiatus.
Hildebrand posted qualification lap times of 167.533 mph (22.0255 seconds) and 168.563 mph (21.8909 seconds) for a combined two-lap average lap speed of 168.047 mph.
In his last oval start at Iowa Speedway Hildebrand qualified and finished in fourth position, in what was one of the best drives of his young career – passing perennial front-runners Ryan Briscoe and Dario Franchitti in the last 15 laps to secure the finish. Tomorrow will mark his first career start on New Hampshire’s one-mile oval.
Ganassi Racing driver Dario Franchitti captured the pole position and will be joined on the front row by Newman/Haas driver Oriol Servia.
Currently, Hildebrand has a 37-point lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year point standings over James Hinchcliffe, who will start on the second row tomorrow. Panther is currently in the tenth position in the overall championship standings and Hildebrand ranks in eighth in the oval-specific points race, with a best career finish or second place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier this year.
The MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 will be broadcast Sunday at 3:30 pm (EST) on ABC, with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 94 and Sirius channel 212.
JR Hildebrand, No. 4 National Guard Dallara Honda:“In the end we qualified around where we’ve been for most of this weekend so far. I don’t think it’s a bad place to be and it ultimately gets us more towards the front than towards the back and that’s a necessity around these types of tracks. I think I just worked the National Guard car a little bit out of where it needed to be for the first lap and then got it back for the second lap – I just didn’t have the momentum to really stick it in.”