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Hildebrand gets second DRR Indy 500 seat, guarantees need for bumping

JR Hildebrand has been announced as the second Dreyer & Reinbold Racing entry for the 2018 Indianapolis 500

Hildebrand has been without an IndyCar seat since he was dropped by Ed Carpenter Racing at the end of 2017.

He now returns to the team he began his IndyCar career with, when he contested two races for DRR in 2010 after winning the Indy Lights series the year before.

DRR had previously confirmed that it would expand to a multi-car entry for this year's race and has held no secret of its ambition to return to IndyCar full-time in the future.

Team boss Dennis Reinbold revealed that attempts to get Hildebrand in an Indycar early have not proved fruitful.

"Right now we're scheduled to run May 1st with Sage [Karam, DRR's other Indy 500 entry] on the refresher day," he said.

"We've asked and requested to also try to put JR in a car at some point in time just to get a shakedown. Right now the answer is no.

"I know everything is short in terms of parts and spares, but it's a brand-new car. Our two cars are brand-new cars, so we want to try to do anything we can to prepare and shake those down before we open up for practice.

"We did talk about that. We put in the proper request to different people at Chevy as well as IMS [Indianapolis Motor Speedway]. We're trying not to push or burden them or whatever, but we would like to try to test the car."

Hildebrand now brings the field to 34 cars, meaning that bumping will return as predicted by Autosport.

He says that the return of bumping adds another dimension to his Indy 500 bid.

"Any time you see the car count going up, it's always a reflection of the sport kind of trending in the right direction" he added.

"Indianapolis is obviously sort of a whole entity, the Speedway, the 500, a whole entity all itself in a lot of ways.

"I think I can speak for our deal coming together, how seamless it sort of was, how excited everybody is to get involved.

"I certainly get the feeling being a part of it [IndyCar], being a part of the series, that it's trending the right way.

"I'm looking forward to [bumping] a little bit - as if qualifying isn't stressful enough - a little bit of extra tension built in, which ought to be fun.

"You can always feel that in the air on pole day. We'll see how it all shakes out."

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