Hildebrand Qualifies 15th in Tight IndyCar Qualifications in Brazil
Panther’s National Guard Entry Has Finished Top Ten in Both Its Starts in Sao Paulo, Brazil
SAO PAULO, Brazil - (April 28, 2012) – National Guard Panther Racing driver JR Hildebrand narrowly missed advancing to the second round of qualifications Saturday and will start in the 15th position for tomorrow’s Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300. Hildebrand is currently 10th in the IZOD IndyCar Series point standings after a fifth-place finish in the Long Beach Grand Prix two weeks ago.
Hildebrand posted a quick lap of 110.753 mph, 1:22.4321 seconds that was good enough for eighth in his qualification group in the first round. JR missed advancing by just thousandths of a second and was on a lap that would have put the No. 4 National Guard car into the second round, but on older tires the Californian lost just enough time in the final corner to slip a few spots down the grid.
In Panther’s two starts in Sao Paulo the team has collected Top Ten finishes in both starts, with a best result of fifth with Dan Wheldon in the inaugural race in 2010. Hildebrand finished tenth here last year in the wet, scoring what was then his first career IndyCar Series Top Ten finish.
JR Hildebrand, No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet: "The National Guard Chevy was good, and the Panther guys did a good job improving it over the course of the day. During qualifying, between overshooting a few corners and some other guys doing the same thing causing some local yellows, I don’t think I did a great job of putting a lap together until the tires were worn off. We were less than a tenth from transferring, and I think that tenth was out there for us, but I just needed to go out there and get it. It’s frustrating on my part because I think the car was there, but that bodes well for tomorrow’s race because we typically race well at these types of tracks and the weather feasibly being a factor doesn’t hurt our chances at all.”