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DATE News (chronologically)
08/21/13
irl
Hildebrand builds chemistry with Barracuda Racing  JR Hildebrand admitted he had to shake off some rust after nearly three months out of an IZOD IndyCar Series car.

"I'm pumped to be back," the 25-year old from Sausalito, Calif., said after turning his first laps in the No. 98 Barracuda Racing Honda at an Open Test at Sonoma Raceway on Aug. 21. "As much as anything, it's just getting back out and getting a feel for things."

All 25 cars entered in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma participated in five scheduled hours of testing on the 11-turn 2.385-mile road course. Hildebrand, the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights champion, said setting quick laps time was secondary to getting accustomed to working with his new team and engineer Todd Malloy.

"I've been in the shop with the team and talking through the strategy behind the setups and what I think about the track and my experience and trying to be as prepared as possible," Hildebrand said. "I feel like we're off to a reasonable start. The most important thing is to get up to speed on and off track."

The test served as a chance for Hildebrand to begin building chemistry with Barracuda Racing, which is evaluating its options for next season by fielding Hildebrand and Luca Filippi. Hildebrand stopped short of calling this weekend's race - or his next opportunity with the team at Auto Club Speedway in October - an audition for a 2014 race seat.

"This is as much about getting used to being somewhere else and so far, I've really enjoyed the environment," he said. "I think for all of us, we'd like to put a result together. It would be good for me, good for the team. This about all of us getting together and doing a good job."

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