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Question of the Day
The last lap humbled him. He’s not going to let it define him.
“On the stats it will show that I finished second in my rookie year and all this kind of stuff, but we had better than that today,” Hildebrand said. “It’s just tough.”
In a way, Hildebrand might have done as much for the series in defeat as he would have in victory.
Fans shouted encouragement as he briskly walked through Gasoline Alley following the race, and fellow drivers such as Paul Tracy came by to shake his hand as he gamely collected himself.
IndyCar is trying to rebrand itself under new CEO Randy Bernard. Having a marketable American driver not named Danica Patrick _ who is considering a full-time jump to NASCAR soon _ certainly would help.
This month showed Hildebrand has the chops. He’s got the intelligence too.
This is the same guy, after all, who put off a chance to go to Massachusetts Institute of Technology after graduating from high school so he could give this racing thing a shot.
Don’t expect him to enroll anytime soon.
“I’m sure he’s down,” Barnes said. “He (doesn’t) need to be down. He has nothing to be ashamed about or upset about. Stuff happens here. We’re proud of him.”
Not that Hildebrand needed consoling nor an official review of the finish.
It’s the Indy 500, not the Indy 499.
Hildebrand was almost perfect on Sunday. Almost.
Afterward he was more concerned about how his gaffe affected his team rather than his career path: “It’s just a bummer.”
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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