Danica may have the star power, Simona may have the potential, and Milka may have the…uh, accent? But when it comes to women in the IZOD IndyCar Series, only one means business - Sarah Fisher.
At the Indy 500 alone, she’s the fastest woman to ever qualify, the youngest woman to compete and has raced the event nine times. She has been voted "Most Popular Driver" four times in two separate series (IndyCar and NASCAR). She was awarded "Indy's Best & Brightest Leaders Under 40” and has become a respected IndyCar team owner.
Sarah has proven herself worthy on track and she’s a fan favorite along pit row. However, the most impressive part about Sarah is her absolute love and dedication to the sport. In 2008, when sponsorships became harder to acquire even for the most celebrated drivers, Sarah made the bold decision to start her own team, Sarah Fisher Racing. For the past two Indy 500’s, she’s participated as an owner and a driver. But this year she’s stepping out of the driver’s seat to focus on running operations at SFR and will give Ed Carpenter the wheel for nine races.
Sarah was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer three questions for me.
1.) You started off racing at a young age with your parents' support. What advice would you give to a young girl trying to break into racing?
Only race because you love it…all of it. There are going to be many downhill days that can only be offset because you love the sport and know the uphill is probably on its way!
2.) Your husband and in-law's work with you at Sarah Fisher Racing. What's it like running a race team with your family? How do you balance the power and responsibilities?
It took some time to figure out how to mesh it together, and we still put emphasis on making it better day to day. Working with Andy and his family is a privilege. And even though we sometimes butt heads, the reason that it works so well is that we greatly respect each other’s different areas of strength. We've always said, working with family is honest, good or bad!
3.) As an owner, what are your preparations like in the off-season? How do you get your team ready to race?
It’s all about being smarter with less. As a small company, we aren't armed with a big budget so we work together to figure out what projects and tools we need the most to get us closer to the front of the line. Just like our beginning in 2008, this is a big year for us. So, rest assured, most everything we need, we will figure out how to get one way or another. One key to our season is going to be the personnel match between our engineer and driver. I think we are going to be very strong from that perspective.
Sarah Fisher = Classy.
Seriously, where else do you find that kind of intelligence, talent and perseverance? (Side bar: Charlie Sheen=Not Classy.) And hello…she works with her husband and father-in-law every day. If that doesn’t impress you, then clearly you’ve never been married (or watched enough reality TV.)
So, on behalf of all my fellow IndyCar ladies, a big thank you to our girl-power-leader! Good luck this season, Sarah.
Ball State sophomore
Official “Juggernaut of Joy” for INDYCAR Nation