Panther’s Hildebrand Qualifies 19th for Sunday’s Baltimore Grand Prix
IZOD IndyCar Series Field Set for Inaugural Street Race on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor Streets
BALTIMORE, MD. (September 3, 2011) – A huge crowd greeted the IZOD IndyCar Series during Saturday’s qualifications for tomorrow’s inaugural Grand Prix of Baltimore, where National Guard Panther Racing driver JR Hildebrandwill start in the 19th position. Hildebrand is the current leader in the IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year standings, but is in a tight battle with Newman/Haas driver James Hinchcliffe, who trails Hildebrand by just three points entering tomorrow’s event.
Hildebrand posted a top speed of 89.536 mph, 1:22.0232 seconds, but was four-tenths up on his final lap when Alex Tagliani left the Turn One runoffarea directly in front of Hildebrand and Team Penske driver Ryan Briscoe, causing both drivers to lose valuable time. JR will start on the inside of the Tenth Row alongside fellow rookie Charlie Kimball for tomorrow’s 80-lap event on the 12-turn, two-mile street course.
Team Penske driver Will Power captured the pole position and will be joined on the front row by Ganassi Racing driver Graham Rahal. The Baltimore Grand Prix will be broadcast live on VERSUS on Sunday, September 4th with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 94 and Sirius channel 212.
JR Hildebrand, No. 4 National Guard Dallara Honda: “We definitely got stuck in a pretty tough group. Four of the six fastest guys in the final practicefrom today were in our group, so that made it tough, but a car got sent right in front of me on my last lap when I was up by four-tenths and that screwed my lap. I feel like we’ve made a lot of progress with the National Guard car and it felt really good and like I could get a lap time out of it and it wasn’t much of struggle anywhere out there. We’ve definitely made a lot of steps in the right direction. It’s unfortunate that we got hosed there because we could have been a couple positions higher in what was a really, really tough group. With really tight corners, and really rough corners for the first three or four turns it will be hard to judge what the cars will do, but there will definitely be a little bit of attrition. For us, we can’t afford to not be aggressive because we think a bunch of guys might wreck. We’re going to do everything we can to pick our way through the field.”