Hildebrand breaks bone, not yet cleared to drive

JR Hildebrand has been diagnosed with a broken bone in his left hand, after last-lap clash with Mikhail Aleshin in the Toyota GP of Long Beach.

The Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet driver had moved out to pass the Russian for 11th place down the inside in Turn 1 on the 85th and final lap, when the pair made contact. The ECR car rubbed wheels with the Schmidt Peterson Motorsport-Honda, and the thrashing steering wheel damaged Hildebrand’s hand.

IndyCar Race Control felt Aleshin had blocked Hildebrand, and reversed their initial finishing order to put the American ahead.

According to an IndyCar statement, the series’ medical director Dr. Geoffrey Billows said Hildebrand will be re-evaluated upon his return to Indianapolis this week and has not been cleared to return to Verizon IndyCar Series competition.

Describing the clash, Hildebrand said: “At the end of the race, we all were bunched back up because of that last yellow. I was on reds [softer compound tires] and had a little bit for at least the handful of cars in front of us. On the last lap, I was making a move on Mikhail Aleshin and I could tell he was struggling. I was out of push-to-pass so I was trying to make a proper, full-out pass down the front straightaway.

“He had been starting to move over, not a major blocking maneuver but enough to assert his line. He hit the brake a lot earlier than I was expecting and I ended up running into the back of him. In doing so, it ripped the steering wheel from my hand and I ended up tweaking it.

“At the end of the day, to come home with an 11th place finish isn’t terrible. It is a bummer though as we were certainly on our way to finishing in the Top 10 and now we are in a bit of a jam going forward. Hopefully I can get back to it before the next race.”