SPEED.com's Robin Miller reports that J.R. Hildebrand has secured the National Guard No. 4 seat at Panther Racing for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series, after his impressive two-day test for the team at Phoenix last week. Hildebrand, Firestone Indy Lights champion last season and the 2006 USF2000 champ, will replace Britain's Dan Wheldon in Panther's No. 4.
“You cannot believe how exciting this is for me,” the 22-year-old native of Sausalito, Calif., told SPEED. “To get one of the premier rides in IndyCar is something I always dreamed about. To come up through the ladder system and get to this point is huge. And, to not have to bring any sponsorship, well I don't take that for granted because I've grown up in an era where drivers were forced to find sponsorship.”