INDIANAPOLIS – On the final lap of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 9, JR Hildebrand had an incident on track with Mikhail Aleshin. By virtue of his accident, Hildebrand suffered a broken bone in his left hand. He had surgery in the off week between Long Beach and Barber, but he wasn’t cleared to drive last weekend in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.
Zach Veach filled in as a replacement last weekend.
But, doctors have since cleared Hildebrand and he will be behind the wheel of the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet for this weekend’s Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix (9:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN/INDYCAR Radio) at the Phoenix International Raceway.
“It’s been a tricky couple of weeks working through this injury,” Hildebrand said. “I’m certainly anxious to get back in the car. I feel like I’m far enough along (in recuperation) to be able to go for it this weekend in Phoenix.
Hildebrand and teammate/team owner Ed Carpenter were fastest in the two-day Verizon IndyCar Series open test at Phoenix Raceway in February. Hildebrand clocked a lap of 193.234 mph while Carpenter, in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, ran a lap of 192.404 mph on the 1.022-mile oval.
“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,” Hildebrand said. “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.”