Hildebrand visits Road America, returns to Canada

EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada- (July 18, 2012) – For the fifth consecutive season the IZOD IndyCar Series is returning the City Centre Airport in Edmonton. JR Hildebrand overcame a brake issue last weekend in Toronto finishing seventh in the action packed race and lead his first career lap on a road or street course.

In last year’s race at Edmonton Hildebrand started the race in 24th and pitted from 15th during the first full course caution on Lap 26. With multiple cars in front of him running alternative fuel strategies, Hildebrand was able to pass former Panther driver Vitor Meira going into the last corner to secure his 11th place finishing position.

J.R. Hildebrand, Panther Racing Chevrolet
J.R. Hildebrand, Panther Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Rebecca McKay

Hildebrand Attends ‘The Hawk’ At Road America:

While most people visit Wisconsin for brats and beer, National Guard Panther Racing driver JR Hildebrand took his off weekend between IndyCar races to attend one of the largest gatherings of historic and vintage racecars in the United States. The legendary Road America racetrack in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin played host to The Hawk with Brian Redman July 12-15 where 450 historic racecars competed in 10 different race groups.

“Seeing all the old cars and the history you can see how racing has evolved in the last 70 years,” Hildebrand said. “To me it was really cool to be able to see all the different series that have existed. It was neat to see the cars themselves let alone the guys out there driving them around pretty good.”

Racecars spanning decades of motorsports history gathered at the 4-mile track to put on a show for the spectators with races that featured some of motorsports most famous vehicles including the legendary 1974 Shadow DN4.

“There was a company called Shadow that made Can-Am (Canadian-American Challenge Cup) cars and Formula One cars in the 60’s into the mid 70’s and they won the Can-Am championship in 1974, basically the last year it existed,” Hildebrand explained. “So the Shadow DM4 Can-Am car is an all black, huge car with a giant Chevy big block. It’s just a mean car. I don’t think you could draw up a nastier machine. It’s a car I’ve always loved.”

As the young driver got ready to head to Edmonton for the next challenge on this year’s IndyCar calendar, Hildebrand reflected on the connection those vintage cars had to his own career.

“I grew up around vintage racing and that’s a big part of why I wanted to be a racecar driver in the first place,” Hildebrand concluded, “so it was cool to be able to go check that out.”

“I’m looking forward to getting to Edmonton. We had kind of a crap weekend in Toronto, so it will be good to kind of start fresh. Half of the stuff that went wrong in Toronto wasn’t down to having a lousy set up on the car, but there were definitely some things that we learned. There were some things last year in Edmonton that we picked up on and figured out the final practice before race day, so we went into the race with a good car but just sort of got caught out by yellows. I’m looking forward to getting back there and having a better idea of what to focus on. Usually by the time we get to the end of a race weekend our stuff is pretty fast, so hopefully we can get with the program a little bit earlier and have a strong run.”

Source: Panther Racing