JR Hildebrand will return to Dreyer and Reinbold Racing for the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.

The 31-year-old from Sausalito, California will drive the No. 48 Salesforce Chevrolet for the Indy-only squad alongside Sage Karam. He finished 11th after qualifying 28th a year ago.

Hildebrand made his NTT IndyCar Series debut for DRR in 2010 at Mid-Ohio and made a splash by setting the fastest lap of the race. He has since competed full time for Panther Racing from 2011-13 before moving to Ed Carpenter Racing as an Indy-only entrant from 2014-16 and stepping up to full time in 2017.

“Last year, we had a great relationship with Dennis Reinbold’s DRR team in our initial Indy 500 effort,” said Hildebrand. “I started my IndyCar career with Dennis back in 2010 when he brought me up to the big leagues in IndyCar Racing. We have always had a great rapport over the years. I have always been impressed with the speed in the race of the DRR team.”

Hildebrand has eight Indy 500 starts to his credit with a climactic debut in 2011. He was leading the race on the final lap before crashing in Turn 4 coming to the chequered flag. His wounded Panther Racing machine skated across the line in second place behind the late Dan Wheldon and earned Rookie of the Year honors.

Hildebrand is honoring the late Dan Gurney driving the number 48. Gurney raced at Indianapolis seven times as a driver and entered cars throughout the 70s with Indy legend Bobby Unser at the wheel. Unser won in 1975 while driving the No. 48.

“I’m thrilled to have Salesforce back on our race car, and also honoring the great Dan Gurney with the No. 48 this year,” he added. “Dan was one of my racing heroes, by saluting him in this year’s Indy 500 and campaigning his famed No. 48. Dan’s No. 48 won the 1975 Indy 500 with Bobby Unser driving. Now, we’ll celebrate Dan’s great racing achievements with the No. 48 car.”

The entry is the 20th consecutive for DRR. Dennis Reinbold, team owner, noted that expanding back to two cars a year ago upped their game and has higher hopes for this year.

“I’m very pleased to bring back J.R. to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway again this year,” said Reinbold. “Last year, we expanded to two cars with J.R. and Sage and the combination worked very well. J.R.’s experience at Indy brings our team a lot of background to develop the cars quickly in practice and prepare for qualifying. With J.R. and Sage, we have two very talented young drivers who can compete for the win on May 26."

Hildebrand and DRR will not test at Indianapolis on April 24 and will take to the track on May 14 - the first official day of practice.

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