Friday, December 13, 2002
Working on the little mistakes
By Sarah Fisher
Special to ABC Sports Online
Throughout the IRL season, third-year driver Sarah Fisher will write a diary for ABC Sports Online.
The Kansas City race weekend was my first opportunity to meet the new sponsor marketing and sales big wigs from SmartBlades, the new primary sponsor on my car. Jeff and Jerry were there from Saturday on and were really excited about the future involvement with myself and Dryer and Reinbold Racing.
After flying in on Thursday, I only had one commitment, which was the media lunch. From there, I stuck around the track to help the guys set up the car. At this point during the weekend, the No. 23 car team only had a few guys working, so everyone was pitching in to help make the weekend more successful. Bystanders overlook the fact that being a two-car team not only helps development and drivers, but from a mechanics' standpoint as well. The No. 24 car team pitched in a lot to help make the effort get through the weekend. We are growing as a team and want to have the right people to fit. Placement is really important to our end result of trying to win races.
We all ate Italian all weekend starting with Robby putting a team dinner together and then with the Allegra company giving us a private room in one of the nicest restaurants in town. The thing I really like about this team is that there is no ranking. Everyone is an equal, so all the guys go together and get along, really a team effort.
On Saturday, I had two autograph sessions that both went well. Many fans were overheating, but being strong IRL fans, they stuck around for the rest of the time. I just hope the one girl I gave my water to made it through the day! It was terribly hot …
Race day was longer than Indy. As hot as it was, the race seemed to last forever. Fans, teams and drivers were baking in the sun trying to keep cool. We were fast for awhile and then had a communication error, which made the car way beyond loose. But the experience helped reinforce my learning to deal with all that a car can give. I was proud though to get the car back to the small window of good handling by the end of the race.
When we have had more time working together, small errors such as the ones this past weekend won't occur. The integral people are put in place; we just need time to polish our teamwork. Starting a new team in the middle of the season is extremely difficult, but we will be extra proud with the end result.
I then stayed an extra day after the race to film a commercial for the SmartBlades folks, which went over really well. Being in the heat helped motivate us to get it done as soon as we could.
See you next weekend at Nashville.
Car: No. 23|
Team: Allegra/Dreyer and Reinbold
Hometown: Commercial Point, Ohio
IRL starts: 26
Best finish: 2nd (Homestead, 4/8/01)