After missing out on a full-time ride in 2016, JR Hildebrand is now turning his attention to May’s 100th Indy 500, and is confident of being in the field this year.
The twenty-eight-year-old American, who came agonisingly close to winning the race back in 2011 but crashed at the final corner while leading, has not raced full time in the Verizon IndyCar Series since 2013, but is in buoyant mood about his chances of being amongst the starters for the legendary race at the end of May.
“I was chasing a full season deal but that’s not going to come to fruition,” said Hildebrand on Racer.com. “So my focus is getting to Indy, with hopefully the grand prix as part of the package, and I’m in discussions with some good teams where I can show up and help. And, be in a position to win the race with good engineering.”
Hildebrand raced in the 2015 Indy 500 with Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing, and finished eighth, and despite Sarah Fisher and Wink Hartman departing the outfit, and hasn’t ruled out a return to Ed Carpenter’s team in 2016.
“They put out a great effort on my behalf, and I talk to Ed and (engineer) Matt Barnes all the time,” said Hildebrand. “We ran really strong in 2014 but we weren’t that good last year so eighth was about as good as we could have been.
“I’ve got a great agent and he’s working with teams, and a little money is still required. But I’m at least in the window of a good program that I can be competitive with. We’ll just see how it shakes out.”