Fontana, CA -J R Hildebrand qualified the No. 98 Barracuda Racing car in 19th place for Saturday evening’s MAVTV American Real 500, the final race of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season.
The IndyCar field had only one practice session on Saturday morning before the qualifications session. Unfortunately, the 90-minute session was cut short for JR by a fuel pressure related issue and Hildebrand finished 23rd.
The Barracuda Racing team worked hard to resolve the issue and prepare the car for qualifying. Understeer became a slight issue in qualifying and Hildebrand expressed confidence that the car was capable of competing up front for Saturday’s race.
“I don’t think our speed here is particularly indicative of how good the Barracuda Racing car is,” said Hildebrand. “Without getting much practice in this morning, we had to just kind of throw what we had at it for qualifying. Also, I didn’t have much time running down low this morning. I think, with the two of those things in mind, we just ended up with a little too much understeer through turns one and two. I had to pedal a little bit, which brought our speed down.
“The car is actually quite stable, which is something that you generally struggle with around here, so I think that’s an easier issue to be working with at this point, going forward.”
Several teams may be assessed ten-spot grid penalties due to engine changes. IndyCar will release the final starting grid during the day on Saturday.
The MAVTV American Real 500 wraps up the IndyCar seasonSaturday night under the lights at Auto Club Speedway. Pre-race activities are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. local time (PDT) with an estimated green flag at 5:50 p.m. Fans can catch all the action broadcast live on NBC Sports Network.