Hildebrand Gets ‘Viso-ed’ in New Hampshire, Panther Finishes 21st
IZOD IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year Leader Taken Out by KV Racing Ace for Second Consecutive Weekend
LOUDON, NH. (August 14, 2011) – For the second consecutive weekend, a promising run by JR Hildebrand and the National Guard Panther Racing team came to an abrupt end due to contact with KV Racing driver EJ Viso. The incident forced Hildebrand into a 21st-place finishing position in Sunday’s MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where the IZOD IndyCar Series was returning after a 13-year hiatus.
Hildebrand, the current leader in the IZOD IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year point standings, was running in the ninth position on a restart on Lap 118 when a yellow came out for a spin by leader Dario Franchitti. Viso, laps down and apparently ignorant of the yellow, mowed through the front of the suspension of Hildebrand’s No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing entry, forcing the 23-year-old into the inside retaining wall on the front straight.
After qualifying for the race in the 11th position, Hildebrand withstood a long green-flag run after a few early caution periods and was able to hold-off Franchitti, who lapped his way up to the Top Ten by the half-way point in the race. Viso was also involved in contact with Hildebrand last week at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course that forced Hildebrand to pit for repairs, putting Panther several laps down. In 2008, Viso was penalized for “avoidable contact” after taking out then-driver Vitor Meira at Watkins Glen International Raceway, where Meira was amongst the race leaders.