- Associated Press - Thursday, February 28, 2013

SONOMA, CALIF. (AP) - JR Hildebrand balanced two different cars during the IndyCar test at Sonoma Raceway.

While he spent his time on track in the No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet, Hildebrand rolled into the raceway in his brand new toy _ a 1962 pink Cadillac Coupe DeVille.

An avid lover of classic cars, Hildebrand already owns a 1966 Chevelle SS that was gifted to him by Panther Racing team owner John Barnes after Hildebrand was named Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year in 2011. But the `62 Coupe DeVille was the one Hildebrand had had his eye on.

“It’s 50-plus years old and it’s hard to find one that’s not either a piece of (junk) or completely restored,” Hildebrand said. “The guy I bought it from sent me a bunch of pictures and I almost made an offer without seeing it in person.”

Instead, Hildebrand sent a few friends to check out the car when the owner told him he had offers because Hildebrand didn’t want to risk it slipping away.

“I convinced him to let me see it before he made a decision (on the other offers),” Hildebrand said. “It was everything I thought it was, and I decided to pull the trigger and add it to the stable. It’s a little bit of a project, but it’s such a unique car and a lot of fun.”

After showing off his new ride, it was back to work for Hildebrand. Because Panther Racing didn’t test at Sebring last week, Hildebrand needed Wednesday’s session at Sonoma as a warm-up for next month’s IndyCar season opener.

Hildebrand worked closely with Panther Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and driver Oriol Servia during the test session and both teams were positive about the results.

“The main positive I took from the test was how well we worked with the Dreyer & Reinbold guys,” Hildebrand said. “We had a pretty optimistic game plan going into the test and a lot of things we wanted to get through in a day.”

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