IndyCar: JR Hildebrand Back in IndyCar on the Ovals

AJ Foyt Racing has announced that JR Hildebrand will compete in the number 11 RoKiT Chevrolet on the oval tracks for the 2022 IndyCar season, sharing the car with rookie Tatiana Calderon.

Hildebrand will compete in five races, starting with the XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 20, the Indianapolis 500 in May, the Hy-Vee doubleheader at Iowa Speedway in July, and the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway in August.

The 34-year-old Colorado resident is no stranger to this team.   He drove in the 2021 Indianapolis 500 as the fourth entry for the team and was the highest finisher on the four-car team.

‘Yeah, I’m excited to be back with this group. I think on paper maybe our May last year didn’t look super special, but I just really enjoyed it. It was a great — sometimes you’re getting thrown into a new team and you don’t really know how things are going to go, and as an extra car last year it felt sort of last minute.”

“But I really clicked with the guys and appreciated the work and kind of just the process of working through things. I felt like we as a group didn’t feel like we rolled off the truck great necessarily, and within a couple of days, it worked into the window, and I had the best race car, the best feeling car I’ve had at the speedway in a long time last year, just within a couple of days.”

The 2009 Indy Lights Champion scored his best finish of second as a rookie in 2011 at the Centennial Running of the Indianapolis 500.  Hildebrand had taken the lead with two laps to go.  When passing a lapped car, his car pushed high and tapped the outside wall on the last lap in turn four, which slowed him enough to allow Dan Wheldon to win the historic event.  The shocked response from the crowd could be heard for blocks outside the speedway.

Last week, Hildebrand was at Texas Motor Speedway for his teammate’s, Kyle Kirkwood, rookie test.  The veteran was able to shake down the car for the 2021 Indy Lights Champion and give the 23-year-old rookie three or four things that would help the most on the banked oval.

“I’m excited to have this opportunity to get back in the car, do a little more racing, and work with the AJ Foyt Racing squad again,” said Hildebrand. ‘I was really impressed by what we accomplished last year at the 500 and look forward to attacking these other ovals on the IndyCar schedule alongside Kyle (Kirkwood) and Dalton (Kellett).”

Lucille Dust writes for

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