IRL'S most popular driver in 2001 has never raced at MIS. BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Sarah Fisher will get a look at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday like she's never had before -- from inside the cockpit of her Indy Racing League car. Until...
IRL'S most popular driver in 2001 has never raced at MIS.
BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Sarah Fisher will get a look at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday like she's never had before -- from inside the cockpit of her Indy Racing League car.
Until now, her only exposure to historic MIS has been through television -- and she likes what she has seen.
"I've never been to MIS, but I've seen it on TV and I've seen how big, smooth and wide it is," said Fisher, who will drive the No. 23 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G-Force Infiniti in the inaugural Michigan Indy 400. "There's plenty of room for racing, and we're going to be two- and three-abreast, and that's fun for me. When I told Dreyer & Reinbold which races I wanted to run, Michigan was one of them. As it turns out, I was able to run the rest of the season."
This season became a lot more fun for the personable driver when she landed a ride for the remainder of the season as Detroit native Robbie Buhl's teammate and driver. Buhl, who drives the No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold entry, co-owns Fisher's team and acts more as a teammate than a mentor.
"Robbie has told me a lot about the tracks that we've visited, and since I've out-qualified him, I don't think he's going to tell me too much about Michigan," said Fisher with a smile. "He's really an awesome teammate and has been very helpful."
Fisher subbed for Buhl at tricky Nazareth Speedway earlier this year and finished fourth after starting 19th. Buhl was nursing an injury he suffered during qualifying at California Speedway and offered advice and support to Fisher.
"He was very helpful at Nazareth because I was back in a car after seven or eight months of being out, and that's not easy for a driver to do," Fisher said. "Now, he needs to focus on the 24 car and the team they have in place, I need to focus on the 23 and the ones who are in place, and we work together to make things successful."
A sprint car racer in her earlier days, the 21-year-old driver burst onto the open-wheel scene in 1999 and completed her first full IRL schedule in 2001 when she was named the league's most popular driver.
While the victories and top-five finishes have not come as quickly as she'd like, her popularity has. As the league's only female driver and one of its youngest, she has developed quite a following of fans.
With the following come expectations, but Fisher said any pressure she is under is a result of her own doing.
"The pressure on myself I put on myself," Fisher said. "I'm the only one who pushes me as hard as I do, and that's because I'm a self-driven person. I'm a person who no matter what wanted to everything the best, whether that was playing the piano the cleanest, being the best speaker in school or getting the best grades. That's just me."
Fisher is scheduled to drop the green flag for the Soap Box Derby and participate in the Go-Kart Challenge on Thursday, July 25, as part of 2002 Jackson RaceWeek Festival in downtown Jackson.
Tickets to the Michigan Indy 400 are just $40 and include the 100-mile Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series event. Combo tickets for Saturday and Sunday are just $50 with children 12 and under admitted free. Call (800) 354-1010 or CenturyTel users can dial *MIS for the combo deal, or visit www.MISpeedway.com.