Photo: Mike Finnegan/INDYCAR

Zach Veach Substitutes for JR Hildebrand at Barber

By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer

During the recent Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Ed Carpenter Racing’s JR Hildebrand suffered a broken bone in his left hand that required surgery. While still in recovery, the Speedway, Indiana team has called for the services of Zach Veach to fill in Hildebrand’s No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park while Hildebrand recovers.

While this is Veach’s first IndyCar race, it is not his first experience in an ECR-prepared car. Veach participated in an Indy Lights driver test day where a Verizon IndyCar Series team partnered with an Indy Lights driver at Sonoma Raceway. Going to the weekend, ECR might be a team to watch given the drivers’ history at the track.

Spencer Pigot drives the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet and has four wins at the track; two wins in Pro Mazda in 2014 and two wins in Indy Lights in 2015. What’s more impressive is that those are his only four races at Barber Motorsports Park. As for Veach, he scored a win and a third in his 2014 outings at Barber Motorsports Park in Indy Lights in addition to a third last year.

“First and foremost, my thoughts are with JR and his recovery, that’s the most important part of this!” Veach said. “My heart goes out to him as I suffered a broken hand a couple years ago and I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone. This isn’t how any driver wants to get his first race but with that said, I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity to sub for JR.” 

“Ed (Carpenter) gave me my first chance to test an Indy car a few months ago. It’s going to be very special for me to be back in that same car representing Fuzzy’s Vodka at Barber,” continued Veach. “It’s going to be a lot to take in in a short amount of time, but I’m really excited to do the best I can for the team, as well as JR!”

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A 2012 graduate of LSU, DeHarde primarily focuses on the Verizon IndyCar Series, but has also covered NASCAR, the FIA World Endurance Championship and the Tudor United Sports Car Championship. A contributor to motorsport.com, Christopher DeHarde has actively covered motorsports since 2014.