Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Indy 500 practice day 1 report

Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing

SFHR Fastest Right Off the Bat at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Josef Newgarden, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda
Josef Newgarden, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, May 12, 2012 – It was deja vu for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) on opening day of practice for the 2012 Indianapolis 500 when rookie driver Josef Newgarden topped the speed charts with a lap of 220.250 mph.

Last year the team was also quickest on opening day of IZOD IndyCar practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with driver Ed Carpenter.

Newgarden's teammate Bryan Clauson made a splash in his first official day of IZOD IndyCar series practice in the No. 39 SFHR/RW Dallara/Honda/Firestone car with the third quickest lap of the day at 219.632 mph.

There are six full days of practice between opening day and Pole Day for the Indianapolis 500, but SFHR has shown that they can back up their early speed on road/street circuits in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar season with solid Honda-powered speed on ovals.

“JOSEF NEWGARDEN (Driver- Nashville, Tenn.) How does it feel to see your name on top of the speed charts on the first day at Indy? "The team has done it all year. People have seen before that they can produce a good road/street car and there’s no issues oval wise. They’ve built really good, reliable, comfortable race cars for me and they’re doing the same for Bryan now. That’s all it is really. They make our job really easy and I think that’s what you guys are seeing. It bodes well, if anything, it’s not really a big deal to be quick on this day, but it speaks well for the team. I think the team deserves that credit. I’m really happy for them that they get the credit because they do deserve it, they do a good job and I’m proud to be with them."

“BRYAN CLAUSON (Driver- Noblesville, Ind.) Bryan on his first official day of practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway: "I don’t know that it could have gone much better. Those SFHR boys prepared a fast Honda race car for us for this month. We were really quick out of the gate. The fastest laps can be misleading because of the tow you catch, but even by ourselves, Josef and I were very quick all day. It will be interesting to see as the month goes on where guys end up. It’s hard to tell who's flat-out at this point and who is not. But, I felt really good about our car and the program we have in place for the rest of the month.”

“SARAH FISHER (Team Owner) Sarah Fisher on her first team's strong performance on opening day: “Today is very encouraging, but it’s still a very long month and we still have a lot of room to grow and room to learn. Having two rookies and it being their first experience, we need to make sure we have an even month so that when we arrive on both Pole Day and Race Day we’re as prepared as today.”

At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, drivers need to be in the hands of a good spotter. On opening day of practice, team owner Sarah Fisher spotted for the No. 39 of Bryan Clauson. With 11 starts in the Indianapolis 500, Clauson would be hard pressed to find a spotter that knows their way around the 2.5-mile track better than Fisher.

If driver Josef Newgarden qualifies for the Indianapolis 500, he would be the first Tennessean in the history of the race to do so.

Jim Nabors, who famously sings “Back Home Again in Indiana” before the start of each Indianapolis 500 will miss the race this year due to health issues. It turns out that one of Nabors’ biggest fans is SFHR driver Bryan Clauson. “Jim singing “Back Home Again in Indiana” is my favorite part of pre-race at Indy,” Bryan said. “I’m bummed he’s not going to be at my first Indy 500.”

SFHR has hired Justin Penix, former intern and IUPUI student, as a full-time engineer. Penix is a member of the first graduating class of the motorsports engineering program at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). He missed his graduation ceremony to work opening day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for SFHR, which was also his first day as a full-time SFHR employee.

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Series INDYCAR
Tags clauson, fisher, honda, indianapolis, newgarden