Did you know that Panther Racing’s primary IZOD IndyCar Series entry has been No. 4 since its inception as a tribute to founding partner Jim Harbaugh, who wore the jersey number for the majority of his college and NFL playing career?
For the Aug. 24-26 GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, the National Guard car will carry a San Francisco 49ers livery as a tribute to the team’s head coach. It just so happens that driver JR Hildebrand of nearby Sausalito, Calif., is a lifelong 49ers fan. Hildebrand, Panther Racing owner John Barnes, the team’s pit crew and select soldiers from the National Guard will take the car to the 49ers training facility in Santa Clara on Aug. 23.
Spectators attending the Aug. 17 test at the raceway at Sonoma got an early look at the car.
“Jim likes to downplay his involvement, but he was an instrumental part of our team getting off the ground in 1997 and he helped lay the foundation that led Panther to two IndyCar championships,” Barnes said. “He brought the same h...