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Hildebrand confirmed for Indy return with Carpenter

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JR Hildebrand will return to Ed Carpenter Racing for a third consecutive season in the Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet, as teammate to Ed Carpenter and Josef Newgarden for the month of May.

The partnership sees Hildebrand and Preferred Freezer back for the 100th Indianapolis 500 and the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis. He was spotted with the team at the Verizon IndyCar Series season opener at St. Petersburg.

Additionally, PFS will be the primary partner on Newgarden’s No. 21 at the Grand Prix of Boston and the Honda Indy Toronto, site of his second win in 2015. PFS will also be an associate on the No. 21 car for all of the remaining events, while team owner Ed Carpenter will carry the famous PFS polar bear on his firesuit the entire Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Hildebrand, 28, hasn’t run full-time in IndyCar since 2012. He ran a partial campaign with both Panther Racing and Bryan Herta Autosport in 2013, then has started only three races the last two years – all with Carpenter in both ECR and CFH Racing branding.

He has back-to-back top-10 finishes in the Indianapolis 500 with 10th in 2014 and eighth last year. He was also on target for a possible top five or top six result at the Angie’s List Grand Prix before a slow pit stop dropped him down the order, to 21st at the finish.

“I’m really glad we were able to put everything together at ECR to continue our program with Preferred Freezer,” Hildebrand said in a release. “Especially going into this year’s 100th Running of the 500, you know everyone is bringing their absolute best to the fight. After the experience I’ve had over the last two years with this team, I know that we’re going to be bringing a race-winning effort ourselves. I’m looking forward to working with Ed and Josef again and putting the PFS entries up front throughout May!”

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.