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Hildebrand helps Pagenaud learn art of the first pitch (VIDEO)

May 19, 2013, 11:59 AM EDT

Following the completion of Bump Day today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the 33 starters in the Indianapolis 500 field will fan out across North America to promote next weekend’s big race.

You can expect to see a few of the big-name drivers make their way across morning television shows and major newspapers in the next couple of days. But the driver with perhaps the neatest perk in all of this is Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports’ Simon Pagenaud, who will be throwing out the first pitch in Milwaukee as the Brewers host the Los Angeles Dodgers at Miller Park.

Ceremonial first pitches can be a tricky business, of course. Getting the ball over the plate would seem simple enough, but it’s not when you have tens of thousands of people watching you. And you certainly can’t chuck it into the dirt and make yourself look bad.

Luckily for the Frenchman, he was able to get a lesson from Panther Racing’s J.R. Hildebrand (pictured) — who recently threw out the first pitch at a Detroit Tigers game while on promotion duties for the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit at Belle Isle Park (the next race following the “500”).

Long before he stepped into the cockpit of the No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet, Hildebrand — who is well-known for his allegiance to the San Francisco Giants — played varsity baseball in his high school years out in California, so he knows a thing or two about the grand old game. Check out the video above to see him give some baseball wisdom to IndyCar’s reigning rookie of the year.

  1. indyatl - May 19, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    NBCSports preempted the Indianapolis 500 qualification shootout for 15 minutes of Preakness post-race content that was ALREADY being broadcast on NBC, followed by another 15 minutes of Preakness post-race rehashing. By the time Indy 500 coverage is resumed, two-thirds of the shootout is over, but the NBCSports announcers repeatedly emphasize how exciting the shootout has been. Too bad it wasn’t deemed to be exciting enough to be covered by NBCSports.

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