Hildebrand Qualifies in 22nd Position for Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto
IZOD IndyCar Series Rookie Starts Alongside Danica Patrick for Tomorrow’s 85-lap Street Course Race
National Guard Panther Racing driver JR Hildebrand will start tomorrow’s Honda Indy Toronto from the 22nd position after qualifications on Saturday at the 1.75-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit. Hildebrand, the current IZOD IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year points leader, will be making his first career IZOD IndyCar Series start at Toronto but finished runner-up in Firestone Indy Lights on the same course during the 2009 season.
While Hildebrand’s best non-oval start of the season is 15th (Barber), he has improved his finishing position relative to where he qualified by a total of 37 positions in his four road/street course starts; St. Pete (+13), Barber (+2), Long Beach (+10) and Brazil (+12). He has also completed all of the possible 330 laps held this season on road and street courses. The 23-year-old finished Top Ten in his last non-oval start, which came in the rain-delayed street course event in Brazil last May.
Panther collected a Top Ten in Toronto last season with former driver Dan Wheldon, who also finished 14th in Panther’s first start at the Canadian street course. The team’s best qualification effort came last year when Wheldon started in the 14th position. Hildebrand started insixth position and finish second in his only previous start here in 2009 while driving in Firestone Indy Lights.
Team Penske driver Will Power captured another IndyCar Series pole position and will be joined on the front row by Ganassi Racing driver ScottDixon.
JR Hildebrand, No. 4 National Guard Dallara Honda:
“It’s a little bit frustrating where we ended up there, but we’ve made a lot of gains through the weekend. We’re trying some different things after having such a long break from the road and street courses; some things the team has worked on during that off time. Going into the qualifying session I felt like the car was quite good, the track had gripped up a lot, which made a big difference and caught a lot of guys out. We’ve got a good racecar, we worked on it in terms of consistency and being able to drive the thing hard, and we made a lot of improvements. But in the end we didn’t have enough time to tweak on it enough to get the last few tenths out of it that we needed. Toronto is a place where lots of stuff can happen and a place where you can definitely make passes, and ultimately there are a lot of things we’ve learned the last two days that we can take with us to the next street course race.”
By: panther racing