Skip to content

Excited to join Ed Carpenter Racing, J.R. Hildebrand has unfinished business at Indy 500

Apr 22, 2014, 4:23 PM EST

Indianapolis 500 - Practice Getty Images

If he had his way, J.R. Hildebrand would run the Indianapolis 500 tomorrow.

The 2011 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year is looking forward to returning to the fabled Brickyard for this year’s edition of the 500 on May 25 for three primary reasons.

First, Hildebrand has unfinished business, having crashed out on just the third lap of last year’s Greatest Spectacle in Racing, finishing last in the 33-car field.

Second, Hildebrand wants to return to the success he had in his 500 debut, when he finished second to the late Dan Wheldon in 2011.

Third, and perhaps the glue that will tie the first two things together for Hildebrand is driving in this year’s race for Ed Carpenter Racing.

“I am so excited to be coming back to Indy with Ed and his team,” Hildebrand said in an ECR media release. “Ed showed last year that his operation can be extremely fast at Indy with the pole and leading the most laps. And that was a single-car effort. I think we feel very good coming back to Indy with a two-car team.”

Hildebrand will drive the No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet as a teammate of owner/driver Carpenter, who earned the pole in last year’s race in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevy.

The groundwork to pair the two drivers together actually began after last year’s 500. While this year’s 500 will be their first race together, both men hope additional funding can be found to bring about additional races for Hildebrand after the 98th running of the 500 next month.

“I truly believe we have a combination to contend in this year’s Indy 500,” Carpenter said. “We are pumped up for May.”

Carpenter and Hildebrand are currently the only all-American team entered in this year’s 500.

It’s been a struggle for Hildebrand, a veteran of 41 IndyCar starts in his career, over the last year-plus. After competing in all IndyCar events in 2011 and 2012, he managed to find a ride and sponsorship for just seven of last season’s 19 races.

This year, Hildebrand has yet to take to the IndyCar circuit, meaning that the Indy 500 will be his first – but he hopes not last – race of the 2014 campaign.

Carpenter is still relishing last week’s win at Long Beach with Mike Conway behind the wheel, which has only heightened Hildebrand’s excitement to get going when practice for the 500 opens on May 11.

“Watching the ECR team in action the past two races (St. Petersburg and Long Beach) with Mike driving has been a good observation for me,” Hildebrand said. “Listening on the radio in the races as well as attending some of the engineering staff meetings has been very enlightening too. I think Ed and (general manager) Tim Broyles have put together a strong unit at ECR. I can’t wait to get started with them in a few weeks.”

Hildebrand will have veteran crew chief Dan Miller atop the pit box. Miller has one Indy 500 victory and four second-place finishes there in his career.

“This team might be small compared to the Penske, Ganassi and Andretti operations but you can see how well they compete,” Hildebrand said.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Latest Posts
  1. Steve Letarte reflects on Hendrick Motorsports career in “exit interview” (VIDEO)

    Nov 24, 2014, 6:26 PM EST

    Pocono 400 Getty Images

    The future NASCAR on NBC analyst talks about how Rick Hendrick and his partnerships with Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have impacted his life.

  2. NASCAR: Austin Dillon to run “majority” of 2015 XFINITY Series season

    Nov 24, 2014, 5:30 PM EST

    AAA Texas 500 - Practice Getty Images

    Dillon will run the No. 33 Chevrolet in the XFINITY Series in addition to continuing his full-time duties in Sprint Cup.

  3. Mark Webber’s 1st WEC season to end in a very familiar place

    Nov 24, 2014, 4:49 PM EST

    AUTO-FRA-MOTOR-RACING-ENDURANCE Getty Images

    The former F1 racer won two Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos, but he’s about to see the legendary track in a whole new light.

  4. NASCAR: “Fresh From Florida” group re-ups with Richard Petty Motorsports

    Nov 24, 2014, 3:32 PM EST

    Credit: Richard Petty Motorsports Credit: Richard Petty Motorsports

    Next season, the campaign will serve as primary sponsor for Aric Almirola’s No. 43 at Atlanta in March and Darlington in May.

  5. Sebastien Loeb will make rally return this January in Monte Carlo

    Nov 24, 2014, 2:33 PM EST

    AUTO-WTCC-MOROCCO Getty Images

    The nine-time World Rally Champion is now a full-time touring car racer, but will help kick off the 2015 WRC campaign for Citroen.

  6. RHR Borg-Warner set for December 3 unveil

    Nov 24, 2014, 2:00 PM EST

    Photo courtesy Steve Shunck Photo courtesy Steve Shunck

    Hunter-Reay’s face on the Borg-Warner Trophy set for December 3 reveal.

  7. #ThingsOdellCouldCatch: Sebastien Bourdais’ 2013 IndyCar trophy at Toronto (PHOTO/VIDEO)

    Nov 24, 2014, 1:15 PM EST

    IndyCar Toronto Auto Racing AP

    IndyCar gets in on the Odell Beckham Jr. meme game, and it’s a good one.

  8. Two racing tie-ins occurred at last night’s AMAs

    Nov 24, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

    Sage500 Getty Images

    Patrick Dempsey presenting and Brantley Gilbert winning makes for two racing tie-ins in a music show.

  9. Weekend wrap: Lewis Hamilton back on top of the F1 mountain

    Nov 24, 2014, 12:15 PM EST

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    Hammer Time in Abu Dhabi; Bird was the word for Formula E in Malaysia; a look at the NASCAR beat…

  10. Abu Dhabi test lineups set for Tuesday, Wednesday

    Nov 24, 2014, 11:45 AM EST

    ADtestlineup AP

    Lineups set for this week’s Abu Dhabi test.

  11. NASCAR: Amy, Brian France help support various charitable causes

    Nov 24, 2014, 11:00 AM EST

    bzf-459427566-2

    Frances busy with charitable efforts during and after the NASCAR season.

  12. Danica Patrick confirmed for another GoDaddy Super Bowl ad, which should feature a surprise guest

    Nov 24, 2014, 10:30 AM EST

    Danica Patrick AP

    Danica Patrick will be in another GoDaddy ad, with an intriguing guest star.

  13. F1’s fears are allayed as double points has no say in title fight

    Nov 24, 2014, 10:00 AM EST

    Mideast Emirates F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez the only drivers to benefit from double points in Abu Dhabi.

  14. Caterham’s return in Abu Dhabi fails to produce a big result

    Nov 24, 2014, 9:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Qualifying Getty Images

    However, simply getting to the race must go down as an achievement for the backmarkers.

  15. Maurizio Arrivabene replaces Marco Mattiacci as Ferrari team principal

    Nov 24, 2014, 8:13 AM EST

    Arrivabene AP

    Mattiacci out, Arrivabene in as Ferrari team principal.

  16. Marussia remains ninth in constructors as Sauber fails to score in Abu Dhabi

    Nov 24, 2014, 8:00 AM EST

    AUTO-PRIX-F1-ABU-DHABI-PRACTICE Getty Images

    Gutierrez finishes as the lead Sauber in a lowly 15th place on Sunday.

  17. (Updated) Remembering iconic motorsports PR great Denny Darnell

    Nov 23, 2014, 6:10 PM EST

    Denny Darnell (far left), with wife Jean, and Cyndee and Jerry Bonkowski. Denny Darnell (far left), with wife Jean, and Cyndee and Jerry Bonkowski.

    The world of motorsports — particularly NASCAR and NHRA — is mourning arguably the best public relations person it has ever seen, Denny Darnell, who passed away Saturday.

  18. Post-race fights in NASCAR Chase joked about during Eagles-Titans skirmish

    Nov 23, 2014, 6:00 PM EST

    Brad Keselowsk AP

    The Charlotte and Texas brawls from this year’s Chase are still resonating weeks after they occurred.

Video from NASCAR America

Most unexpected event of 2014?
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. Gordon (1891)
  2. K. Kahne (1889)
  3. J. Johnson (1777)
  4. T. Stewart (1688)
  5. J. McMurray (1668)