Photo: Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR

JR Hildebrand Cleared, Will Race at Phoenix

By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief

JR Hildebrand was cleared Tuesday and will return to the cockpit of the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet in this weekend’s Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix.

The 29-year-old from Sausalito, California, sustained a broken bone in his left hand in a last lap accident with Mikhail Aleshin at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 9. Hildebrand was not cleared to drive last weekend’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park, forcing his Ed Carpenter Racing team to call on Zach Veach, whom made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut and finished 19th.

Having paced the field in the open test at Phoenix International Raceway in February, Hildebrand, 21st in the standings after missing Barber, will look to bounce back strong at the first oval of the season.

“It’s been a tricky couple of weeks working through this injury, I’m certainly anxious to get back in the car!” said Hildebrand via a team release.

“I feel like I’m far enough along to be able to go for it this weekend in Phoenix. I know we’ve got a good program; I want to be able to come through for the team at an event where we should be strong. The competition there is tough, I expect we will really have to be on our game over the course of the weekend. I’m looking forward to getting back in the Fuzzy’s Vodka car!

“Everyone has been super helpful and I appreciate the hard work that everyone has put in to be able to get me back in.”

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Joey Barnes is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Motorsports Tribune. He has covered auto racing since 2013 that has spanned from Formula 1 to NASCAR, with coverage on IndyCar. Additionally, his work has appeared on Racer, IndyCar.com and Autoweek magazine. In 2017, he was recognized with an award in Spot News Writing by the National Motorsports Press Association.