Ed Carpenter Racing announced on Tuesday that Zach Veach who will make his Indianapolis 500 debut with AJ Foyt Racing next month will make his Verizon IndyCar Series debut at the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park filling in for the injured JR Hildebrand.
Hildebrand who broke a bone in his left hand during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach two weeks ago commented by saying:
This obviously is not how I had hoped this would play out, but I’ve done everything there was to do since surgery last Tuesday with good results. It seems the risk is still too high given the initial extent of the injury. “The doctors I’ve worked with have been awesome to get my fractures sorted out and I trust their view of the situation.”
“I’m disappointed for the team to be out this weekend, but am looking forward to doing everything I can at Barber to help continue the progress we’ve made so far this year. I am continuing to rehab with maximum focus to be back in the saddle for Phoenix,” Hildebrand continued.
Veach who will drive the No.21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet alongside Spencer Pigot commented by saying:
First and foremost, my thoughts are with JR and his recovery, that’s the most important part of this. “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!
Spencer Pigot, driver of the No.20 Chevrolet commented by saying:
Even though it is disappointing JR won’t be on track this weekend, I know he will still be great asset for myself and Zach. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can all accomplish together. “Barber is definitely one of my favorite tracks, the fast corners and steep elevation changes are pretty unique and a lot of fun to drive. The track has been very good to me in the past, so I hope that trend continues this weekend!”
Speaking about Veach’s appointment to replace Hildebrand, team owner Ed Carpenter stated:
We will obviously miss JR being in the car this weekend, but we need to focus on what is best for his recovery and for ECR while he is recovering. “Zach is a driver that we have been interested in; during the test at Sonoma last year, he did nothing but impress. We know he will do a great job at Barber in what is a tough situation for everyone