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Indy 500 Qualifying 2012: JR Hildebrand Racing For Jim Harbaugh Team

Normally I'm not a particularly big auto-racing fan, but as 49ers, it appears we actually have a vested interest in this year's Indianapolis 500. 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh is a part-owner of the Panther Racing team, after getting involved during his time as quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts.

Panther Racing will send J.R. Hildebrand to the 101st running of the Indy 500. Last year, Hildebrand was actually leading in the final lap of the 2011 Indy 500 before crashing into the wall attempting to lap slower cars coming down the home stretch.

The Indy 500 is actually next weekend (Memorial Day weekend), but today the race is conducting qualifying. If you are sitting around with nothing to do, turn on NBC Sports (formerly Versus), to check out the qualifying. SB Nation has an Indy 500 story stream at our auto-racing hub, so you can keep an eye on things over there as well.

As I understand it, 24 of the 33 spots are determined this morning. That is followed later today by the Fast Nine, where the top nine spots are sorted out. The nine fastest qualifiers race in that. Tomorrow is "Bump Day", where drivers can bump slower drivers out of their position. I'm not totally sure what is going on with it, but it seems interesting nonetheless.

We'll have an open thread for the Indy 500 next weekend, particularly since not much else is happening. For now, we can root on J.R. Hildebrand and Coach Harbaugh.