Hildebrand Makes Return to Home State for Grand Prix of Long Beach
IZOD IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year Points Leader Returns Home to California
LONG BEACH, California - (April 14, 2011) – The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be a welcome return to the Sunshine State for California native JR Hildebrand, who will make his first IZOD IndyCar Series start at the historic event this weekend in Panther Racing’s No. 4 National Guard entry. Hildebrand, the current points leader in the IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year standings, won the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights race at Long Beach from the pole position during his championship campaign that season.
In total, Hildebrand has competed at Long Beach in three racing series – ToyotaAtlantics, Firestone Indy Lights and last year in ALMS. In addition to his Indy Lights’ victory, Hildebrand drove his Genoa ALMS entry into the LMPC class lead, before the team finished on the class podium an in seventh overall in the event. A mechanical failure during his one start here in Toyota Atlantics ended his race before he took the green flag.
Panther has made two starts in Long Beach, both with former driver Dan Wheldon, whocollected a Top Five finish during the team’s debut at the track in 2009 – the team’s best result on the temporary street circuit. Last season Wheldon finished in the ninth position, giving Panther Top Ten results in each of its two starts here.
The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be broadcast live on VERSUS next Sunday at 3:30 pm with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network, XM Channel 145 and Sirius Channel 121.
JR Hildebrand, No. 4 National Guard Dallara Honda:
“Definitely for me anytime I can get back to California feels a little bit more like home, and this is the first track we’ve been to this year where I’ve won a race in the past. That’s definitely meaningful in some way for me and since this is the next street course on our schedule we’re looking to build off everything we learned in St. Pete. And also we’re hoping that we can start off this weekend on a roll and in the window. I know the National Guard Panther guys have been working their butts off to put us in a position to be in a good place here starting out tomorrow. We’re going to have to keep after it.”
-source: panther racing