SPEEDWAY, Ind. — JR Hildebrand will be among the drivers in the IndyCar paddock for multiple races for the first time since 2017 as he signs a new deal with AJ Foyt Racing to run all five oval races this season.
The series is gearing up for its first oval race of the season at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. Hildebrand will drive the #11-car for Foyt in a role that has him driving the car normally run by rookie driver Tatiana Calderon on the road and street circuits.
Hildebrand is eager to keep the good chemistry he built with the team rolling, after driving in a last-minute one-off drive with Foyt in the Indianapolis 500.
“Sometimes you’re getting thrown into a new team and you don’t know how things are going to go,” Hildebrand said “And as an extra car it felt sort of last minute, but I really clicked with the guys.”
Hildebrand will be in the cockpit for this weekend’s race at Texas as well as the Indianapolis 500 in May, the doubleheader at Iowa, and then the last oval race at World Wide Technology Raceway outside St. Louis.
In his career. Hildebrand has run 65 races in the NTT IndyCar Series. He made his debut in the series with Dreyer and Reinbold racing in 2010. The last time Hildebrand ran multiple races in an IndyCar season was in 2017 when competed in the full season for Ed Carpenter Racing.
In the years since that full 2017 season, Hildebrand has been part of one-off appearances in the Indianapolis 500 with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing as well as Foyt last season.
Though he has not run as many races as the series regulars, Hildebrand says he keeps up in staying prepared.
“Knowing this has been going to happen the last few months, I’ve been preparing alongside all the full-time guys,” he said. “Same program and trainer as Josef Newgarden, Jack Harvey, and some of the other guys.”
Hildebrand says he loves oval racing and is excited about how it has evolved over the last decade.
“The awesome thing about IndyCar racing generally right now, but particularly the oval racing is that there is nowhere that’s easy anymore,” said Hildebrand. “There’s really no flat out, you know, you’re pinned for the entire race kind of places. You really have to work with the team to get the cars hooked up.”
Hildebrand’s last race at Texas was in 2017 when he finished 12th.