Friday, May 10, 2002
It's exciting to be back
By Sarah Fisher Special to ABC Sports Online
Throughout the 2002 IRL season, Sarah Fisher is writing a diary for ABC Sports Online. Sarah will look to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 this Saturday (ABC, 1 p.m. ET).
It's the month of May again, and I'm very excited to be back in Indianapolis. We announced a deal on Wednesday for me to drive the No. 23 Team Allegra/Dreyer and Reinbold Racing/Infiniti/Firestone car for the 86th running of the Indianapolis 500. I'll be a teammate to Robbie Buhl, who I substituted for at the IRL's race at Nazareth Speedway in April.
Sarah Fisher's fastest lap in practice on Thursday was 225.740 mph.
The beginning of this first week at Indy was difficult for me. Waiting for our announcement and waiting to get in the car for the first time meant I had to test my patience quite a bit. To actually sign my car number "23" when I'm asked for autographs now feels really great. Getting on track was a relief after waiting through all of the negotiations and final paperwork.
There are a lot of people who worked very hard to make this deal come together in only two short weeks and in addition to our primary sponsor Allegra, our other sponsor partners who came on-board for Indy include Raybestos, ATA, and Purex. .
I'm often asked about the pressure of being the only woman currently competing in the Indy Racing League and I don't think there is any more pressure than what I put on myself. I've been racing for 16 years and for the most part was the only woman in whatever series I've been in, so I'm used to people asking me questions about it. The internal pressures I put on myself are far greater than any outside influences. I am the person who judges myself the harshest and higher performances mean more to me than anyone else. As a driver, I can only do the best possible job given the situation I am in. Surely this month will help take some of the pressure off if we have a good finish. But I also don't believe that a poor outcome would ruin a career based on just one race.
What people sometimes forget is that I've only run an IRL car for two years, and also that it doesn't matter whether you are a man, woman or a monkey -- if you have the ability, the job is accomplishable. My first year in this series, it took a while for the other drivers to get comfortable with me, just like with any rookie. It takes being around for a while to let everyone know what you are really about. It's a great new experience for me to have a teammate like Robbie Buhl and we are working really well as teammates. Sometimes it's hard for a driver to describe to a non-driver what is going on in the race car, but so far Robbie and I are matching quite well with feedback. The more you are around your peers the more they get to know your true blue side.
Wish us good luck this weekend for Indianapolis 500 qualifying, and I'll talk to you again very soon! Thanks for all your support!