National Guard, Sunoco “Turbo” Crews Focus on Race Setup, Both Drivers Happy with Results

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - (May 16, 2013) – Panther Racing duo of JR Hildebrand and Townsend Bell showed speed again today throughout practice for the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500, continuing the trend of Panther Racing’s Chevys near the top of the speed charts.

“We’ve been working a lot on the race setup in the National Guard Chevy and feel like we’ve been making a lot of good changes,” Hildebrand explained. “We’re getting to where we’d ideally like to be for race day. We had a big tow lap, but the cars that put in those big laps are usually good cars. But that’s not indicative of how fast the car really is, or how well it works in traffic, it’s just how many cars you can get in front of you to bang it up into sixth gear and put in a big lap. But we feel like we’re pretty close on the setup, and we’ve been circling around trying to get the car to do a couple different things, but we feel strong.”

The former Indy Lights champions and California natives were led by Hildebrand in the No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet with a best lap of 224.975 mph, 40.1652 seconds. Hildebrand’s placed seventh on the speed charts and turned a total of 36 laps. Meanwhile, Bell completed 39 laps in the No. 60 Sunoco “Turbo” Chevy with a best lap of 223.182 mph, 40.3259 seconds. That placed Bell 14th amongst 33 drivers on the speed charts.

"The No. 60 Sunoco "Turbo" Chevy is awesome,” Townsend said. “We're really happy with the balance which means at this point we can think about our qualifying setup and optimization. Our basic foundation is really good, so tomorrow we'll do some qualifying sims and get things tweaked for Saturday. The competition in this series is as strong as I’ve ever seen it, and while I was commentating on the race in Brazil I had it in the back of my head that I was going to have to get out here with these guys. I think we’re in for a incredible race."

Both drivers are very pleased with their racecars which will allow the Panther team’s focus to turn to qualifying preparation for Friday’s practice which begins at noon and runs until 6 p.m.

Track action resumes tomorrow for the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 from 12:00 pm until 6 p.m.

Pole Day qualifications are scheduled for Saturday, May 18th. The 97th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race will be held on Sunday, May 26th and broadcast live on ABC starting at 12 pm (ET) with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network, XM/Sirius Channel 211. Practice, qualifying and race coverage is also available on the IndyCar Mobile app from Verizon.