In a not shocking announcement, A. J. Foyt Racing confirmed J. R. Hildebrand as the oval driver for the number 11 ROKit car which Tatiana Calderon drives on the street and road courses. Hildebrand drove for Foyt in the 2021 Indianapolis 500. He will be a great mentor to rookie Kyle Kirkwood.
The announcement from the team:
INDIANAPOLIS (March 11, 2022) — J.R. Hildebrand has been signed to drive the No. 11 ROKiT Chevrolet on the oval tracks in the NTT INDYCAR Series this season. The 34-year-old Boulder, Colorado resident will share the car with Tatiana Calderón, of Bogota, Colombia, who is driving the No. 11 ROKiT Chevy on the road and street circuits.
“I’m excited to have this opportunity to get back in the car, do a little more racing, and work with the AJ Foyt Racing squad again,” said Hildebrand. “Although the results may not have looked special on paper, I was really impressed by what we accomplished last year at the 500 and look forward to attacking these other ovals on the IndyCar schedule alongside Kyle and Dalton.”
The first of five races for Hildebrand will be the XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 20. He will also compete in the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Hy-Vee doubleheader at Iowa Speedway in July and the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway in August.
Last year, Hildebrand signed with AJ Foyt Racing to drive the team’s fourth entry in the Indianapolis 500 with sponsorship from Foyt’s longtime sponsor ABC Supply. He qualified 22nd and finished 15th, the highest finisher on the four-car team.
A.J. Foyt shares an anecdote with J.R. Hildebrand last year in the Foyt garage at Indy.
“We had a great experience working with J.R. last year, and there is no doubt he is very competitive at Indianapolis,” said Team President Larry Foyt. “He is still very motivated to drive Indy cars and is a setup-savvy, technical driver who will be a strong addition at our oval races this year.”
Hildebrand scored his career best finish of second as a rookie in 2011, the Centennial Running of the Indianapolis 500. It was a bittersweet finish for the then 23-year-old who had taken the lead with two laps to go. Passing a lapped car, his car pushed high and tapped the outside wall which slowed him enough to allow Dan Wheldon to win the historic event. In 11 Indy 500 starts, Hildebrand has qualified in the top-10 four times and posted four top-10 finishes.
The 2009 Indy Lights champion has started in 66 INDYCAR races and claimed 17 top-10s including seven top-5s, three of which were on the podium.
The XPEL 375 will be broadcast live on NBC starting at 12:30 p.m. ET. Qualifying will be held on Saturday and streamed on Peacock starting at 2 p.m. ET.
Hildebrand drove the No. 1 ABC Supply Chevrolet in last year’s Indianapolis 500. The livery was designed to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of Foyt’s first of four Indy 500 victories in 1961.