Skip to content

Rahal, Hildebrand celebrate early January birthdays, seek better 2014s

Jan 4, 2014, 4:00 PM EST

Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver Graham Rahal removes his earplugs near his father, Bobby Rahal, after qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 in Indianapolis Reuters

Two of America’s up-and-coming IndyCar drivers have had birthdays in the last 24 hours, and each seeks a bounceback 2014 season.

Graham Rahal turns 25 today. The son of 1986 Indianapolis 500 champion Bobby also drives for his father’s IndyCar team, and has already enjoyed a pair of successful tests this offseason working with new engineer Bill Pappas. Pappas hopes to help turn the team’s fortunes around after a trying 2013 that had more valleys than peaks; still, Graham impressed on several occasions including at Long Beach (second), Iowa (fifth), and Baltimore (fastest car on track until late contact with Tony Kanaan).

The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team has not yet announced its commercial partnerships or second driver for its IndyCar program this year. Rahal and teammate James Jakes ended the 2013 IndyCar season in 18th and 19th in the points standings. Rahal is also testing for BMW Team RLL this weekend at the Roar Before the Rolex 24, but is not yet confirmed for the race in the team’s GTLM class BMW Z4 GTLM.

Meanwhile JR Hildebrand turned 26 on Friday. Hildebrand endured a nightmarish 2013 that saw his contract at Panther Racing terminated after the Indianapolis 500, his car broken into with items stolen, and then needing to ward off an attempted robbery. On-track, he resurfaced with Bryan Herta’s Barracuda Racing outfit at Sonoma and Fontana, and nearly won the last race of the year.

A talented driver who seems to have been forgotten in the silly season discussions, it would be great to see Hildebrand earn another IndyCar opportunity with a different team in 2014.

Latest Posts
  1. Kurt Busch calls ex-girlfriend’s allegations a ‘fabrication’

    Dec 17, 2014, 5:16 PM EST

    Kurt Busch and Patricia Driscoll in happier times at the 2013 NASCAR Awards Banquet in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison, File) AP

    Kurt Busch testified Wednesday he asked former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll numerous times to leave his motorcoach on the night she claims the NASCAR driver struck her head several times.

  2. Daytona Rising begins race to finish line of Phase 1

    Dec 17, 2014, 3:03 PM EST

    daytona rising logo

    The race to the finish line of Phase 1 of Daytona Rising at Daytona International Speedway kicked into high gear Wednesday, with a record 1,002 construction workers on-site.

  3. Insight: Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup’s presence in F1, and America

    Dec 17, 2014, 3:00 PM EST

    Photo: Porsche Photo: Porsche

    Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup’s status grew in 2014. We caught up with the series manager during Austin F1 weekend.

  4. Expect IndyCar’s Hinch, RHR in Rolex 24 rides

    Dec 17, 2014, 1:30 PM EST

    James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay AP

    At least two IndyCar stars will join the Rolex 24 lineup, but teams are TBD.

  5. Ben Kennedy, great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., signs with Red Horse Racing

    Dec 17, 2014, 1:23 PM EST

    (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images) Getty Images

    Ben Kennedy, the great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. and 2014 Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year, will race for Red Horse Racing in 2015, the team announced Wednesday.

  6. NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 14 Greg Biffle

    Dec 17, 2014, 12:46 PM EST

    (David Becker/Getty Images) Getty Images

    As we continue our series on the top 30 drivers of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, next up is series veteran Greg Biffle.

  7. IndyCar: Hinchcliffe completes “get to know you” first test with SPM

    Dec 17, 2014, 12:10 PM EST

    Road America Getty Images

    James Hinchcliffe tests Tuesday at Sebring with Schmidt Peterson.

  8. Top NASCAR stories of 2014: No. 14 – Matt Crafton doubles up in the Trucks

    Dec 17, 2014, 12:00 PM EST

    NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Banquet Getty Images

    Crafton made history in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this year as its first back-to-back champion.

  9. NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 13 A.J. Allmendinger

    Dec 17, 2014, 11:00 AM EST

    GoBowling.com 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Allmendinger propelled his single-car team into the Chase with a win at Watkins Glen.

  10. IndyCar: Coyne makes first offseason announcement with new shock engineer

    Dec 17, 2014, 9:00 AM EST

    Shell Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston - Day 3 Getty Images

    No drivers, but DCR’s shock/damper program should be good in 2015.

  11. NASCAR AMERICA: The end is coming for the Sprint era (VIDEO)

    Dec 16, 2014, 8:04 PM EST

    Ford EcoBoost 400 Getty Images

    It’s not an ideal situation for NASCAR, but as the NASCAR AMERICA gang explained today, it’s not a hopeless one either.

  12. Kurt Busch’s ex-girlfriend testifies in protection order hearing

    Dec 16, 2014, 7:14 PM EST

    kurt busch sonoma Getty Images

    Patricia Driscoll broke down on the stand during the hearing in Dover, Delaware.

  13. F1: Gene Haas among possible bidders at ongoing Marussia auction

    Dec 16, 2014, 5:30 PM EST

    Gene Haas Formula One Press Conference Getty Images

    A two-day website auction on the assets of the former F1 outfit began today.

  14. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA breaks down Sprint’s decision at 5 p.m. ET

    Dec 16, 2014, 4:30 PM EST

    Food City 500 Practice Getty Images

    Coming up: What will Sprint’s departure in 2016 mean for NASCAR’s future?; Steve Letarte revisits his final race as a crew chief; more on the health of Brian Vickers; the inspiring story of the NHRA’s Jay Blake.

  15. Texas prez Eddie Gossage: “Enormous opportunity” awaits for new Cup Series sponsor

    Dec 16, 2014, 3:34 PM EST

    Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage. Getty Images

    One of NASCAR’s top promoters weighs in following Sprint’s announcement that it will end its title sponsorship in 2016.

  16. Fry, Tombazis out as part of Ferrari’s ongoing restructuring

    Dec 16, 2014, 2:15 PM EST

    Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Ferrari F1 alters its organizational flow chart.

Video from NASCAR America

Can next sponsor invigorate NASCAR?
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. K. Busch (2061)
  2. D. Suarez (1970)
  3. M. Tifft (1719)
  4. J. Boston (1627)
  5. A. Self (1536)
  1. K. Larson (1514)
  2. D. Kwasniewski (1407)
  3. S. Heckert (1340)
  4. J. Haley (1197)
  5. C. Coughlin (1176)