Race Weekend Essentials: Indy 500 Ace JR Hildebrand
Published January 24, 2023
by Jack Benyon
He’s one of the coolest people to set foot (or cycle) in the Brickyard every single year.
JR Hildebrand is one of the safest pair of hands in a race car at the Indy 500 these days on the grid, and while his 2023 plans are still to be determined, his race weekend essentials bag is always packed and ready to go.
He’s an IndyCar podium finisher, an Indy Lights champion, key protagonist in that 2011 Indy 500 ending and now, you get to see inside his bag for all his favourite gear.
This is a regular feature at Podium Life, so if there’s a competitor or motorsport personality you’d like us to interview, let us know!
What do you pack for a race weekend?
My core essentials for a race weekend outside of driving gear are a dark pair of shades, noise-canceling headphones, and a good pair of high tops.
I’ve been wearing the IVI Sepulveda for a few years now even after I stopped working with them as a sponsor because I love the straight-across top of the frame (although I’ve had my eye on some Jacques Marie Mages – need to come up with a good excuse).
I’ve also used a version of the same pack for a few years – the Incase EO travel backpack. Room for a big-screen laptop or tablet, expandable, great for carrying-on. And I always have a lacrosse ball in my bag to loosen up tight muscles in a pinch.
What can’t you live without?
Water and sleep. Literally and figuratively. You’ll rarely find me without a 1L Nalgene bottle whether at the track or not – I use it to track my water intake everyday – and I’ll supplement with Nuun electrolyte tabs when I feel the need.
I use a product called Tailwind as a fuel/hydration mix when actually exercising, whether on the bike or in the race car.
I’ll usually also bring a bike. The last couple of years I’ve had my Shimano-equipped Yeti SB130LR. And I always bring the 2Pac minky that my wife got for me in downtown LA way before we were married…it’s just super cozy!
Having lived in Indy previously there are several spots I try to hit while there but I’ll give a special shout-out to Goose the Market for a sandwich that I desperately wish I could find at home in Boulder.