JR Hildebrand’s run to 12th place in the recent Indianapolis 500 was an impressive th ing for the A.J. Foyt Racing team, but the lasting memory from the event for them will be the charitable funds raised with the No. 11 Chevy.
Dressed in the colors of the American flag, the car piloted by Hildebrand supporting Homes For Our Troops generated $1 million in donations to build new homes for injured military veterans. Spearheaded by longtime Foyt sponsor ABC Supply, the company matched the donations to bring to total delivered to HFOT to $ 2 million.
“Rich Thompson from ABC was instrumental in making Homes For Our Troops the focus of the 11 car for 500 and matching the million was a big part of that,” team president Larry Foyt told RACER. “When ABC were first talking about the program it was exciting, but then you saw the car and the livery, it was amazing and just the fan reaction and the messages we got from people and just the support that came in was just so great.
“And then you feel even more pressure, because you want to do a good job, and you want that car to be fast. The night before the race, we had five veterans from Home For Our Troops there and had dinner and got to meet them and talk to them and hear about their experiences and what the charity has meant to them. It just was so cool.”
Foyt praised Hildebrand for his extensive efforts to promote HFOT and hopes to have another chance to support the charity via ABC Supply at future Indy 500s.
“It’s hard to put into words how much this meant to us, and JR was great,” he said. “He was a big part of it and this project just made everything really special. There’s a lot of patriotism within our team. I remember for the 100th anniversary of the 500, I fought hard to get on IndyCar’s military trip where we went over to the Middle East and Europe and visited maybe 10 or 10 to 15 military bases. It was one of the most meaningful and an eye-opening experiences I’ve ever had. The culmination of all that leading into this was really special and we’d love to do it again. I hope we can keep it going because it is great program.”