JR Hildebrand will pilot a second Ed Carpenter Racing entry in the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500, the team has revealed.
Hildebrand, runner-up in the 2011 Indy 500 as a rookie, will drive the #21 Dallara-Chevrolet in the 25 May event, linking up with team owner – and 2013 Indy polewinner – Ed Carpenter, who will make one of his occasional appearances as the series returns to its most famous oval. Carpenter's car will carry Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka backing, while details of commercial partners for the #21 machine will be announced in the near future.
“We are very pleased to bring JR Hildebrand into our Indy 500 effort this year,” Carpenter, a ten-time Indy 500 starter, said, “JR has been the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year and an Indy Lights champion, so his credentials are very impressive. It is great to have another American driver in the 500 this year and competing with ECR. We believe a second car at Indy will assist us in preparing for a strong performance in this year's Indy 500.”
The Carpenter-Hildebrand combination is currently the only All-American team entered in this year's 500, and the two-car effort will be led by general manager Tim Broyles, team crew chief Bret Schmitt and lead engineer Matt Barnes.
Hildebrand won the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year honours in 2011 when he placed second to Dan Wheldon, two years after the 26-year old captured the 2009 Indy Lights championship. Prior to the Indy Lights title, Hildebrand won the 2006 US F2000 crown and the 2004 SCCA Formula Russell points. He is now a three-time starter at Indianapolis, but will always be remembered for the last lap contact with the wall that cost him a notable victory in the big race.
“I'm extremely excited to join Ed Carpenter Racing for this year's Indianapolis 500,” Hildebrand confirmed, “Ed's team has been very strong on the ovals the past two years, including winning at Fontana and taking the pole position at last year's 500. Working with Ed and his staff at Indy gives me a lot of confidence going into the world's biggest race. I can't wait to jump into the #21 Chevy and get back to the Speedway.”