By: Spencer Neff
March 11, 2022
A.J. Foyt Racing announced that 2011 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year J.R. Hildebrand will return to the team for the oval portion of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule in 2022.
Hildebrand ran last year’s Indianapolis 500 with the team, where he started 22nd and finished 15th, best of all three cars in the race.
The Sausalito, California native will contest the XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway next Sunday (March 20), as well as the 106th Indianapolis 500 (May 29), the Iowa Speedway doubleheader weekend (July 23-24) and the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at at World Wide Technology Raceway (August 21).
With Tatiana Calderón slated to run only the road and street courses, the No. 11 was opened for the five oval events. Foyt will have three full-time cars with Kyle Kirkwood (No. 14) and Dalton Kellett (No. 4) also running.
“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 in Friday’s announcement.
“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.”
A champion of the Indy Lights series in 2009, Hildebrand’s career has consisted of 66 INDYCAR starts since his 2010 debut at Mid-Ohio with Dreyer and Reinbold (started 18th and finished 16th).
In 2011, he crashed in Turn 4 on the final lap of the Indianapolis 500 while leading, allowing Dan Wheldon to pass for the win.
Driving for Panther Racing, Hildebrand finished second and earned Rookie of the Year honors. In 2017, he started second (his only front row start to date) and equaled that career-best finish at Iowa while driving full-time with Ed Carpenter Racing.
From 2018 to 2020, he ran a one-off entry with Dreyer and Reinbold Racing at the Indianapolis 500.
“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.”
Next Sunday, Hildebrand will make his first start outside of the Indianapolis 500 since the 2017 finale at Sonoma Raceway.
Header Image By James Black/INDYCAR