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.