JR Hildebrand joins Ed Carpenter Racing for Indianapolis 500

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From the “this makes so much sense we can’t believe it’s happening” department, Ed Carpenter Racing has signed JR Hildebrand to its second car for this year’s Indianapolis 500.

Hildebrand, whose second place in 2011 netted him that year’s Rookie-of-the-Year honors, will compete alongside Ed Carpenter in the team’s No. 21 Dallara-Chevrolet.

Commercial partners are yet to be determined but Hildebrand’s stock rose after his impressive performance in the season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, where he nearly won in a cameo for Bryan Herta Autosport. Carpenter finished second that race in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka entry.

“Ed’s team has been very strong on the ovals the past two years, including winning at Fontana and taking the pole position at last year’s ‘500,’” said Hildebrand, via IndyCar.com. “Working with Ed and his staff at Indy gives me a lot of confidence going into the world’s biggest race.  I can’t wait to jump into the No. 21 Chevy and get back to the Speedway.”

Added Carpenter: “JR has been the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year and an Indy Lights champion, so his credentials are very impressive. It is great to have another American driver in the 500 this year and competing with ECR. We believe a second car at Indy will assist us in preparing for a strong performance in this year’s Indy 500.”

This marks the first time the third year team has expanded to a second entry for the Indianapolis 500. Additionally, it is the first confirmed “extra” Chevrolet entry to join the manufacturer’s 10 full-season entrants.

Carpenter will race the six oval races this year; Mike Conway the other 12 road and street races in the No. 20 car.

Racing world reacts to Danica Patrick’s Daytona, Indy double news

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Here’s a sampling of quotes and social media reaction to Danica Patrick’s news announced earlier Friday that this would be her last full-time season as a driver, and that she’ll race in the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 only in 2018.

This ends a full-time stretch in the top flights of NASCAR and IndyCar. She was in NASCAR from 2012 through 2017, and IndyCar from 2005 through 2011.

Her’s her own post on Twitter and Instagram.

Well…. 2018 Daytona 500 and Indy 500 here I come. 🙌🏼

A post shared by Danica Patrick (@danicapatrick) on

IMS President J. Douglas Boles

“We’re glad Danica plans to return to the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil next May,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “Her final career start will make what’s already shaping up to be a terrific Month of May even more interesting for our fans.

“It’s also fitting that Danica is wrapping up her career at the place and in the race where she became a household name and captured the world’s attention in 2005 – the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500. We’re looking forward to seeing her back in an Indy car next May alongside all of the tremendous drivers of the Verizon IndyCar Series.”

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