Hildebrand ready for first IndyCar road race in 21 months

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INDIANAPOLIS – The driver who wore No. 21 in last year’s Indianapolis 500 has 21 take on a different significance this year.

For JR Hildebrand, this weekend’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis is his first Verizon IndyCar Series road course race in 21 months (August 2013 at Sonoma, then driving for Bryan Herta Autosport).

Hildebrand makes his return to CFH Racing for the month of May and this year will be in both the Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500, now in the No. 6 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet.

He did at least have a test with CFH and one of his two teammates, Josef Newgarden, last fall. He heads into this weekend’s race with modest expectations, but big thanks for the shot.

“I’m looking forward to the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis. We tested at Barber last year in the offseason which went really well,” Hildebrand said in a team release.

“Although it had been a while since I’d been in the car on a road course, I got up to speed really quickly. That’ll be of upmost importance for us going into the race weekend here.

“There will be a little bit of a catch up going on for us since it’s a new track for me, but there’s nothing better than having two guys [Newgarden and Filippi] that have proven they’re quick.

“For us in the No. 6 Preferred Freezer Services car, we’ll be leaning on the other guys a little bit more than normal just to make sure that by the time qualifying rolls around we’re all set.”

Hildebrand is joined by Newgarden and Luca Filippi, the latter of whom makes his Indianapolis Motor Speedway debut this week.

Also making its return? The giant bear mascot outside the team’s garage.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.