JR Hildebrand paid tribute to the Panther Racing team after earning his highest-ever grid spot for a non-oval race, and the team's best in seven years, during qualifying for this weekend's IndyCar race at Barber Motorsports Park.
Hildebrand will start Sunday's race from fifth on the grid, and said that the result was the payoff for work that the team had put in during the offseason.
"We put a high priority this year on improving our road and street course program," he said. "With some of the yellows and the red flag coming out when it did in that second qualifying group, maybe [we] got a little bit lucky with all that and timing it right. [But] we're happy to have the pace that we did. We look forward to turning that into something good for us and good for points tomorrow."
Panther last made the top six on a road course at Sonoma in 2005, when Tomas Enge qualified fourth.