LEXINGTON, Ohio - (August 5, 2012) – National Guard Panther Racing driver JR Hildebrand collected another Top Ten Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where the 24-year-old drove his Chevrolet to a ninth-place finish in the Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. Despite having to make a late pit stop for a splash of fuel with just seven laps remaining in the race, Hildebrand was able to run amongst the leaders for the entire race to collect his fifth Top Ten finish of the 2012 season.
“We were banking on there being some yellows in there to make it a two-stopper like the guys up at the front, but we ran too hard in the first stint for that to pan out,” JR explained. “We ended up having to make a splash for fuel that cost us a few spots there at the end of the race. But, having said that, we really battled back to come here with a racecar that was legitimately fast. We’ve had some decent races and and good racecars, but this weekend we focused on making sure we had the out right speed and we made some significant gains, so great job by all the National Guard Panther boys for that.
After just missing out on advancing in qualifications Saturday, Hildebrand started the day in 12th position and moved to 11th before the team made its first pit stop on Lap 26. During his second stint, Hildebrand continued to climb the grid; passing Marco Andretti (Lap 31) and Ryan Briscoe (Lap 37) and had moved into seventh before making his second pit stop on Lap 52. In the closing laps of the race the team was running in the sixth position but had to make a final stop for a splash of fuel on Lap 77, which ultimately put him into his final finishing position of ninth.
“I’m happy with the race; we didn’t make mistakes and we had a lot of pace,” Hildebrand continued. “I think if the cards had rolled a little bit of a different way we could have finished in the Top Five and had no problem running up there. “
The result was Panther’s best finish at Mid-Ohio since Vitor Meira finished sixth in 2008, a year in which he led a total of 21 laps. Four of Hildebrand’s five Top Ten finishes this season have come on road or street course events; Long Beach, Brazil, Toronto and Mid-Ohio.