JR Hildebrand took a break from his schedule ahead of traveling to Brazil for this weekend’s round of the IZOD IndyCar Series to head to Detroit for promotion of this year’s race.
Hildebrand, an avid San Francisco Giants fan, temporarily donned a Detroit Tigers jersey to throw out the ceremonial first pitch ahead of Monday’s Tigers game versus the Minnesota Twins. He threw a strike, and the Tigers won 4-3.
Hildebrand and Justin Verlander had the chance to reconnect after Verlander showed up at Long Beach two weeks ago, merely as a fan. The Tigers were in town to play the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Additional baseball and racing crossover in Long Beach occurred when Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing driver Charlie Kimball threw out the first pitch ahead of a Dodgers game, and Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson and legendary left-hander Randy Johnson shot photos throughout the weekend.
IndyCar races in Detroit from May 31-June 2, with a doubleheader weekend for the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans.
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.