IZOD IndyCar Series rookie JR Hildebrand kick started his race week early, revving up New England for the MoveThatBlock.com INDY 225 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this Sunday.
The 23-year-old California native visited the N.H. State House to welcome fans to the Granite State with Governor John Lynch and NHMS executive vice president and general manager Jerry Gappens. Hildebrand then visited the Larz Anderson Museum in Boston, Mass. preparing for the 225 lap event on Aug. 14.
"All the drivers are all really excited to come to Loudon," said Hildebrand. "There is a lot of history up there with open-wheel racing. The one thing about that track is it poses a unique challenge from a driver's standpoint. It's short and flat and that creates a real risk versus reward scenario."
Hildebrand, who pilots the No. 4 National Guard car for Panther Racing, got his claim to fame this past May by leading the Indianapolis 500 on three different occasions. The rookie driver was one turn away from winning the prestigious event when he got in the rough patch of the track and lost control, sending him into the wall. Hildebrand limped to a second place finish on just two wheels.
Known as one of the most talented young American drivers in open-wheel racing, Hildebrand was the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights champion, totaling four wins, six poles, 11 top-fives and 12 top-10 finishes. He made his IZOD IndyCar Series debut in 2010 before competing full time this season.
"We are so excited for the stars of INDYCAR to race into New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend," said Gappens. "The IZOD IndyCar Series showcases such a great product for fans with an international flair having both American and international drivers."
Representatives from MoveThatBlock.com were on hand to share a special surprise for military families in the area, giving 500 tickets for Sunday's MoveThatBlock.com INDY 225 as a token of their appreciation.
"We just wanted to bring some entertainment to families who need a break from the stress and grind of their everyday lives," said Todd Drowlette of MoveThatBlock.com.
The MoveThatBlock.com INDY 225 action-packed weekend also includes the Firestone Indy Lights Series, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the American-Canadian Tour. To purchase tickets please call the NHMS ticket hotline at (603)783-4931 or by visiting www.nhms.com.