Fisher Makes History with 8th Indy 500 Qualifying Attempt; With Well Wishes from Janet Guthrie, Fisher Clocks Fastest Speed of Month INDIANAPOLIS May 10, 2009 Sarah Fisher qualified for her 8th Indianapolis 500 Sunday and ran her quickest lap of...
Fisher Makes History with 8th Indy 500 Qualifying Attempt; With Well Wishes from Janet Guthrie, Fisher Clocks Fastest Speed of Month
INDIANAPOLIS May 10, 2009 Sarah Fisher qualified for her 8th Indianapolis 500 Sunday and ran her quickest lap of the month, during qualifying, with a speed of 222.661 miles per hour in her Dollar General machine. Fisher will roll from Row 7 in the 21st position on race day, after posting a four- lap average of 222.082 mph in her 2nd run, of 3 permitted. Appropriate for Mother's day, Fisher's mom, Reba, waved the green flag on Fisher's qualifying attempt.
"The first run was a little hairy," said Fisher, who is making her second qualifying effort at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway under the umbrella of Sarah Fisher Racing. "We just had to readjust some things from our first attempt and put in a solid run in our second time around. We were a little quicker than we were all week today, by ourselves, so I was really happy with that."
Fisher began her attempt to qualify for the 2009 Indianapolis 500 on Saturday's "Pole Day" with 16 laps during the morning practice session and, before retiring to her SFR garage for most of the afternoon, bypassing the teams original spot in the qualification line. Meanwhile, the stage was being set for the first 11 spots in the 33-car field. The team, then, returned to pit lane for "Happy Hour" after passing through the Indy Racing League technical inspection three minutes before it was set to close.
The No. 67 Dollar General crew sat in their pit box awaiting a window to do several simulated practice qualification runs. Unfortunately, the team could not find a window to practice and, instead, put themselves in line to make a qualification attempt. With a number of other competitors in line, their quest to make the Top 11 went unfulfilled, as the gun fired to end the day.
"We would have liked to have qualified Saturday, but with the weather and needing to make readjustments to the car, it just wasn't in the cards," continued Fisher.
Instead, SFR would have to wait until Sunday's 2nd Day Qualifying to gain a spot in the second group of positions, spots 12-22. The team returned to pit lane for 25 minutes of practice, turning 9 laps with a best speed of 222.289 mph, before they rolled to the qualifying line.
Fisher completed her first attempt in the No. 67 Dollar General/Sarah Fisher Racing Honda powered Dallara, with an average speed of 219.991 mph. Her four laps were: 222.661, 217.376, 220.561 and 219.116 mph. Her second laps' speed was hampered as she wiggled coming out of the short-shoot in Turn 1.
"Boy, that first run really woke me up; obviously I didn't have enough coffee this morning," said Fisher, who was first out to qualify on Sunday. "The car just had too much push in it and wouldn't take the extra speed going into Turn 1, with the wind. We then went back to our pit to make sure the car would tolerate that extra entry speed."
SFR withdrew their first qualifying attempt to try for a more consistent run. Fisher's second set of laps were 222.477, 222.230, 222.081 and 221.542 mph, giving her an average speed of 222.082 mph for her second attempt of the day.
When asked how things have changed since 2008, Fisher said, "I had yet to be in the right place at the right time for 10 years, and we are so lucky to have Dollar General by our side this year. A lot of people put their lives on the line to start a business and we were no exception. My husband, Andy, and I were committed to starting this team even though we didn't really have the means to do it. Dollar General saw us struggling and stepped in and saved us."
SFR will return to the racetrack Thursday afternoon in preparation for Fisher to make her 8th start in the Indianapolis 500, marking the most number of starts for a woman in the 93-year history of the race.
Janet Guthrie, the first woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500, called Fisher this morning to wish her luck.
"Janet told me to be smart today," said Fisher.
Just as Fisher reached the end of her press conference, she was asked what she would write on her Twitter for the day.
Fisher replied, "Thank God."