ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (March 22, 2013) – The IndyCar Series season was officially kicked-off on Friday afternoon on the downtown streets of St. Petersburg, where 25 car-and-driver combinations took to the 14-turn, 1.8-mile temporary street circuit. National Guard Panther Racing driver JR Hildebrand was slowed by an electrical gremlin for a good portion of the second practice, but still managed to put down a total of 29laps during the day’s two practice sessions.
Panther DRR driver Oriol Servia posted the fourth-quickest time on the day, which bodes well for the National Guard team in its collaboration with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and its veteran driver. With the collaboration between the two teams realigned this year, the electrical issues that hampered the No. 4 team today won’t be as big of a setback, especially given Servia’s speed.
Hildebrand is slated to make his third career start in St. Petersburg this Sunday, and last year the 25-year-old American led the race and was about to secure a Top Five finish before a fuel pressure issue sent him back to a 19th-place finishing position. Hildebrand finished 11th in St. Pete in his first start here in 2011.
JR Hildebrand, No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet:
"We were unfortunately down for a lot of practice two today with an electrical issue, but thankfully Oriol was rather quick, so we’ll look to learn from them to be ready for tomorrow.”