Monday, May 13, 2002 Updated: May 29, 3:05 PM ET
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 race in her third Indianapolis 500.
Pole Day for the Indianapolis 500 was an awesome and rewarding one for Dreyer and Reinbold Racing. This day is often called the first of two races for the month of May, and I think we did very well for the first "race". I qualified the No. 23 Team Allegra/ Dreyer and Reinbold/Infiniti/Firestone car in ninth place -- with a four-lap average of 229.439 -- and my teammate Robbie Buhl is in second position on the front row, with a four-lap average of 231.033 mph in the No. 24 Team Purex/Dreyer and Reinbold/Infiniti/Firestone car.
It was a good weekend for Team Dreyer and Reinbold Racing as both Robbie Buhl and Sarah Fisher qualified in the first three rows.
Robbie and I had good practice sessions on Saturday morning before qualifying and I was very confident in my car as we got in line and waited for our turn to go. It's always stressful as you wait for your turn, and that day, we had two short rain delays to factor into the mix as well.
But with Dane Hart as my engineer/crew chief, I wasn't hyper at all. He kept my "blinders" on and I was completely calm and focused on the run. I knew what I had and could count on it from lap one. It was really more of a fun experience this year than ever before. It was also very important to me that my dad, mom and boyfriend Josh were there with me for moral support as I waited to qualify.
As I was on the track for my run, I thought to myself "229! Hurray!" That was where I wanted to be and I just kept trying to keep calm about it and stay focused on each corner. To be able to qualify that well on Pole Day is more of a reflection on the growth of Dreyer and Reinbold racing. To put two cars in the top 10 of the closest field in Indianapolis 500 history means a lot to this growing team, and it makes me proud to be a part of that success.
After my run, I was asked a lot of questions about being the fastest woman ever at Indy. My goal in racing has never been to set "female records", but to win as many races (including Indy) as I can. So in that respect, being the fastest woman ever at Indy doesn't mean nearly as much to me as finishing in fourth place at Nazareth a few weeks ago. It seemed like everyone made a bigger deal out of it than what I thought it meant. To me, it was just a solid run that allowed me to sleep in the next day without having to worry about making the field.
Robbie Buhl has been a fantastic teammate. He has been someone to bounce ideas off of and to get hints and tips from. A lot of people may not know that he has a huge role in the everyday operation of the Dreyer and Reinbold team in the sense of planning the attack. He is very smart and a truly talented person.
I think the entire attitude of the Dreyer and Reinbold team has also helped me this month. Team co-owner Dennis Reinbold (along with Robbie) is very focused on performance, but he also believes that you can have fun while you work, and that positive attitude is reflected in every team member and that is certainly helping me with my performance on the track. When you are stressed, you tend to overdrive the car.
Next up for us this week is preparing for the race -- the second "race" of May, and the most important one. Winning the 500 would definitely change my life for the better! I am not sure that it would take the women questions away; in fact it would probably increase the amount of questions surrounding the issue. I'd just like to help keep the momentum that we have built up since the Nazareth race for Team Dreyer and Reinbold Racing rolling as we get ready for the greatest race in the world.