J.R. Hildebrand now knows why so few rookies win the Indianapolis 500.
The 23-year-old IndyCar driver was a quarter-mile from winning the centennial edition of the race when he attempted to pass Charlie Kimball’s lapped car on the outside of Turn 4 on the final lap Sunday.
The move ended in disaster when his No. 4 Panther Racing Honda rolled over debris as it exited the turn and slammed into the wall.
Hildebrand managed to cross the finish line with sparks flying from the right side of his car, but not before Dan Wheldon slipped past to collect his second 500 victory.
Hildebrand bent over with his head in his hands as he inspected his damaged car and took blame for the mistake, saying his team deserved better.