JR Hildebrand will go drift racing later this year

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JR Hildebrand’s been known to light the tires before when driving or testing some American muscle cars. Now the third year Panther Racing driver will have a chance to put that practice into race situations later this year, in Formula Drift.

Hildebrand will race with Tyler McQuarrie’s drift team at two IndyCar off weekends, Seattle July 19-20 and Irwindale Oct. 11-12. The friendship came together via their mutual relationship with sponsor GoPro, and the No. 6 Chevrolet Camaro will also be sponsored by Mobil 1.

“I’m pumped to join Tyler with his Camaro program and to get into Formula D,” Hildebrand said. “Since as early as 2004 I’ve thought drifting was an awesome and unique area of motorsport, so I’m very excited to finally get involved myself.”

It’s been a less than stellar start to his IndyCar season, with an accident in St. Petersburg and 17th in Barber – both from just 24th spot on the grid.

With one of three races in California up next for IndyCar, Hildebrand looks to reverse his luck in his home state. The Northern California native finished fifth at last year’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach after a similarly frustrating first two races.

Al Unser Jr. to race Pikes Peak Hill Climb for first time in 29 years

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Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. is coming out of retirement to race again.

Unser Jr., who turns 56 on April 19, will compete in the 96th Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 24. It will be the first time Unser has raced at Pikes Peak in 29 years, since the 1989 event.

Unser won the Hill Climb and was named “King of the Mountain” in the 1983 event.

Unser said in 2007 that he was retiring from racing and had no plans to race in the future. However, he has taken part since then in some selected vintage racing events.

Speaking of vintage cars, Unser is slated to drive a 1936 Chevrolet Sedan in this year’s Hill Climb, according to race organizers.

He’ll compete with a number of luminaries including eight-time Hill Climb winner Paul Dallenbach; Layne Schranz, who will be competing in his 25th “Race to the Clouds”; 23-time champion Clint Vahsholtz; 25-time Hill Climb competitor David Schmidt II and three-time Climb winner Spencer Steele.

Unser recently returned to IndyCar racing as a consultant with Harding Racing, which is beginning its first full season in the series with Gabby Chaves behind the wheel.