JR Hildebrand enters No. 48 car in 500 to honor Dan Gurney

JR Hildebrand waits along pit lane prior to his qualification attempt for the 102nd Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Photo courtesy: IndyCar Series/Doug Mathews)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – 2011 Indianapolis 500 runner-up J.R. Hildebrand will get another chance to chase victory in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” this May.

The 31-year-old racer will team with Sage Karam to drive for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing for the second straight year. Hildebrand qualified for his eighth Indy 500 in 2018, finishing 11th in his Salesforce Chevrolet after starting 27th.

“We had a great relationship with Dennis Reinbold’s DRR team in our initial Indy 500 effort,” said Hildebrand in team release. “I started my IndyCar career with Dennis back in 2010 when he brought me up to the big leagues. I have always been impressed with the speed in the race of the DRR team.”

Hildebrand will use the No. 48 in tribute to legendary driver, team owner and manufacturer, Dan Gurney, who passed away in early 2018. Gurney finished second in the 1968 and ’69 Indy 500s. He won the 1975 race with Bobby Unser as a team owner. His Eagle cars won multiple 500s.

“I’m thrilled to have Salesforce back on our race car and also honoring the great Dan Gurney with the No. 48 this year,” Hildebrand said. “Dan was one of my racing heroes.”

“This is a great tribute to my dad,” said Alex Gurney, Dan Gurney’s son. “JR Hildebrand is a special person as well as a fantastic driver and he seems always to be in contention for the win at Indy. I hope he can put the 48 up front.”

Hildebrand was the Indy 500 2011 “Rookie of the Year” after being in position to win the race before crashing in turn four. He has four top-ten finishes in the 500-mile race.

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