Hildebrand Qualifies Career-Best Fourth for Panther at Iowa
IZOD IndyCar Series Rookie Lands National Guard Team in Second Row for Iowa Corn Indy 250
National Guard Panther Racing driver JR Hildebrand laid down his career-best qualificationeffort Saturday at Iowa Speedway, where the IZOD IndyCar Series rookie willstart fourth for tomorrow’s Iowa Corn Indy 250. Hildebrand had recorded his previous best starting effort of 11th position earlier this month at Texas Motor Speedway, but secured a spot in the Second Row alongside Tony Kanaan for tomorrow’s 250-lap event.
The qualification effort is the best starting position since Ed Carpenter started on the pole for Panther Racing at Kentucky Speedway in 2010.
Hildebrand posted lap speeds of 179.422 and 179.717 mph for a two-lap combined average speed of 179.569 mph. The team’s previous best starting position at Iowa was a sixth-place start by Dan Wheldon in 2009, a year in which he led the race and finished fourth. In the final practice session of the day Hildebrand finished in the tenth position.
KV Racing driver Takuma Sato captured his first career IndyCar Series pole position and will be joined on the front row by Andretti Autosport driver Danica Patrick.
JR Hildebrand, No. 4 National Guard Dallara Honda:
“We got the ole girl a little loose there in practice, so we made a bunch of changes during the break andobviously rolled out there in qualifying and felt pretty good. We’re excited about what we had in qualifying there and even more excited about what we can have in the race. When we rolled out in practice we were really good and then we lost it a little bit. We started to have some issues at the end of that practice, but we locked ourselves into the transporter until qualifying and we definitely got it right. We’re excited that we had a good run there in qualifying and we’ve got another practice session tonight to work on the racecar.”