HILDEBRAND ADVANCES AGAIN, QUALIFIES 11TH FOR SUNDAY'S SAO PAULO INDY 300
National Guard Team Advances in Second Straight Race, Nabs Best Start of the 2013 Season
SAO PAULO, Brazil (May 4, 2013) – For the second consecutive race National Guard Panther Racing driver JR Hildebrand advanced to the second round of IndyCar qualifications and will start 11th tomorrow in the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300. Panther’s effort on Saturday marks the first time Hildebrand has advanced to the second round of qualifications in back-to-back races and his 11th-place start tomorrow is the National Guard team’s best start of the 2013 season.
"It’s the second straight week that we’ve transferred into the second group in qualifying, so that’s certainly a positive for the National Guard Chevy team," Hildebrand said. "In the second round we had good pace and were probably quick enough for seventh or eighth, but we had some shifting trouble and some things like that and didn’t put a good lap together. We feel like that car is pretty good, we were on the higher side on downforce so tomorrow we’ll have to consider that, but all-in-all the weekend has gone smoothly and the guys have done a good job. We’ve started further back in the past and finished further forward, and this is a place where you can race. As long as we’re smart tomorrow with strategy and on the right tires when we need to be I know we can move our way through the field.”
After a rocky start to the season Hildebrand has turned things around in the last two events; qualifying 12th at Long Beach and using a late charge to score his second-straight Top Five and then starting off this weekend sixth-overall in practice. Both his previous starts in Sao Paulo have resulted in Top Ten finishes and Panther captured a Top Five finish in its first trip Brazil with former driver Dan Wheldon.
Hildebrand finished fourth in the first round of qualifications and advanced to the Top 12 shootout, where he posted a top lap of 112.301 mph, 1:21.2961 seconds. He will start alongside Long Beach winner Takuma Sato in the sixth row.
Chevy driver Ryan Hunter-Reay captured the pole position and will joined on the front row by Andretti Autosport teammate EJ Viso.
Panther’s Qualification History at Sao Paulo:
Sunday will mark Panther’s fourth start in on the streets of Sao Paulo, with its best finish coming in 2010 with Dan Wheldon in the team’s first trip to Brazil. Hildebrand scored the team’s best starting position today (11th) and the team has finished Top Ten in each of his previous starts, with Hildebrand coming home in seventh-position last year.
Panther Racing’s Qualification History:
•2012 – JR Hildebrand, qualified 14th (finished 7th, Running)
•2011 – JR Hildebrand, qualified 22nd (finished 10th, Running)
•2010 – Dan Wheldon, qualified 18th (finished 5th, Running)
The Sao Paulo Indy 300 will be broadcast live May 5th on NBC Sports Network at 11:00 am (ET), with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network, XM/Sirius Channel 211. Practice, qualifying and race coverage is also available on the IndyCar Mobile app from Verizon.
www.JRHildebrandRacing.com - www.pantherracing.com - www.NationalGuard.com