Tuesday, May 20, 2003 Updated: May 21, 5:45 PM ET
Indy 500 field is deep this year
By Sarah Fisher Special to ABC Sports Online
As a four-time starter in the Indianapolis 500, I can truly say that this year's race has the best depth of the field since I've been participating. There are at least 25 drivers who could win this race on May 25 -- and it's a privilege to be a participant.
We qualified in 24th place last Sunday and had to wait a little anxiously this past week to be sure we would be in the field. Bump Day was a very long day for myself and my team, to me it felt like the last day of school before Summer Vacation -- it seemed endless! But we made it in and can focus on the race.
Car: No. 23 Team: Dreyer and Reinbold/WeGotGear Hometown: Commercial Point, Ohio IRL starts: 35 Best start: 1st (Kentucky, 8/11/02) Best finish: 2nd (Homestead, 4/8/01)
Our team has also had some sponsors step up to help us get to Indy and beyond, including Raybestos Brakes, AOL Broadband, and GMAC, so things are looking good for us to be able to compete the entire season in the Indy Racing League. It'll be a big weight off my shoulders to not have to worry about the race-to-race sponsorship and focus on making our package competitive so we can win races.
It also helps that my engineer from last season and my core group of guys are back with me at Dreyer and Reinbold Racing as well. Engineer Mark Weida, crew chief Dan Miller, DAG Jason Lucas and core staff members Andy O'Gara, Scott Merryman and Mark Talifario have worked so hard and they are essential to our team effort.
The "month" of May always has a lot of responsibilities off the track, including appearances and interviews, and we've been very busy as usual, but we've been trying to have a little fun too to help keep the stress levels down.
I actually pulled off a prank on my guys last week by telling them that we had a potential sponsorship deal with Sponge Bob Square Pants since they've always told me they'd do anything to help us get sponsorship. I told them that Nickelodeon TV and Sponge Bob wanted to film a commercial with them wearing boxer shorts to help sell the shorts for a Father's Day promotion and I got them to agree. Then we had them wear T-shirts and the Sponge Bob boxers while they worked on the car and then I asked them to walk our through the garage area (in front of all the other teams) while wearing their boxers and pose for a photo in front of the IMS Scoring pylon.
Being the good sports that they are -- they agreed and the photographers and film crew got them on tape. When I finally told them it was a joke, they all chased me through the garage area and have vowed revenge, so I'm watching my back!
We're into "race preparation mode" now, with our final practice coming up on Carb Day, and then we will all wait for the green flag to drop on May 25. If you can't be at the world's greatest race in person, make sure to watch us on ABC at Noon ET. See you at the finish line!
For more from Sarah, go to www.sarahfisher.com.