J.R. Hildebrand Starts 15th in Las Vegas, Racing for Rookie of the Year

LAS VEGAS, NV (October 16th, 2011) – IZOD IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year hopeful JR Hildebrand will start Sunday’s IZOD IndyCar World Championships at Las Vegas in the 15th position, while teammate Buddy Rice will have to start 33rd after his qualification attempt was nullified because Rice went below the white line during his run.

J.R. Hildebrand of Sausalito with teammate Buddy Rice.

Hildebrand posted a combined two-lap average of 220.639 mph and will start just one position behind James Hinchcliffe, who leads the Rookie of the Year battle by just six points going into Sunday’s 200-lap race. Rice made a qualification run in the Fuzzy’s Vodka entry, completing a two-lap average of 220.392, but IndyCar officials penalized Rice for driving below the white line during his run and he was sent the rear of the field.

The Kentucky Indy 300 will be broadcast live on Versus on Sunday, October 2nd at 2:00pm with additional coverageprovided by the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 94 and Sirius channel 212.

JR Hildebrand, No. 4 National Guard Dallara Honda:

“This is actually faster than we were expecting to go, but it’s really close up there. Practice has been side by side, ten rows deep so I think it’s really going to be about what kind of racecar you’ve got and what you and your team can do in the pits. We feel pretty good about where we’re at right now. The kind of side-by-side racing her in Las Vegas has been crazy. I think we have got tohave to run mistake free, and it looks like James (Hinchcliffe) and I right now are going to be right next to one another. We’re really stoked to be where we’re at right now, and it really comes down these guys, they give me great equipment every race and we just fight to the end every time. And that is most certainly our plan this weekend.”

Buddy Rice, No. 44 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Dallara Honda:

“I think the Fuzzy’s Vodka car is pretty good, I just missed out a little in qualifying. We were a little slower than we were in practice; I thought we would have picked up a little time in qualifying. We’ll be ok, the car is really racy and will be pretty good. We’ll just have to work a little harder come Sunday to get this car up front. I don’t think the car count is going to be that much of a deal. I think it’s going to go back to pack racing like it did 3 or 4 years ago. Some guys have run that way and some haven’t, so we’ll just see how it plays out. It’s just going to be a big chess match, so you have to make sure you have no mistakes.”


Panther Racing, Press Release

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