Walker Racing Shows "Team Spirit" at Homestead and Long Beach Long Beach, Calif., April 8, 2001 - Race day for Walker Racing, the only open-wheel team to compete on a full-time basis in both CART and the IRL, and drivers Tora Takagi and Sarah ...
Walker Racing Shows "Team Spirit" at Homestead and Long Beach
Long Beach, Calif., April 8, 2001 - Race day for Walker Racing, the only open-wheel team to compete on a full-time basis in both CART and the IRL, and drivers Tora Takagi and Sarah Fisher was one that showed the "team spirit" as the two separate teams competed at opposite ends of the U.S.A.
Sarah had a second-place finish -- the best of her open-wheel career in the #15 Walker Racing/Kroger Special at Homestead-Miami Speedway, while Tora's day ended early (20th) in the #5 Pioneer/DENSO Special at Long Beach, Calif.
"We had a couple of setbacks in Tora's car during the race that made it difficult to drive," said owner Derrick Walker, who spent race weekend in Long Beach. When you are at a place like Long Beach, the car has to be just right. Tora drove his heart out to compensate for a couple of problems in the car that were really insurmountable.
The Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami was aired live on ABC immediately preceding the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, so the entire Walker Racing team kept tabs of each other's progress via cell phone and television, and the CART team was able to hear of Sarah's second place result at Homestead right before the green flag dropped in Long Beach.
"Sarah's 2nd place finish in Homestead was terrific for our team, and I'm really proud of all of them. It only goes to prove that hard work pays off. A big thanks to Kroger and Proctor & Gamble, we could have not done it without you!
When you look at how happy everyone on the CART side of our team was to hear Sarah's results before we started our race, it's just demonstrates the team spirit that we have. We care for each other and want the entire team to do well."
Sarah started at Homestead in 7th place, and her car set up was spot-on, enabling her to stay at the front of the field the entire race.
"It was a good race weekend for my engineer Mike (Wright) and myself because we started working together really well," said Sarah. Homestead is a tricky and slimy racetrack and isn't easy to drive. This finish will give us added velocity going towards the Indianapolis 500 race. We didn't get to do much testing over the winter and had kind of lost our momentum after the end of the season, so this second is a good step towards being a self-sufficient race team, which is what Derrick is striving for. This finish was the second-best birthday present I could give Derrick today! (owner Walker also celebrated his birthday today).
Tora started the Long Beach race in 16th position and had moved as high as 14th on the difficult to pass circuit before spinning into the turn one tire barrier eight laps from the end of the race.
"After the first pit stop, I started losing the clutch," said Tora, "and then the gearbox wouldn't downshift. I tried to stay out and get laps in, but then the brakes started to fade, and I spun and ended up in the tires. It was a shame we couldn't stay out until the end, but I did the best I could do today."
Round three of the open-wheel race season will also be double-duty for the Walker Team as the IRL's race will take place at 7 p.m. at Atlanta Motor Speedway on April 28 (ESPN2), while Tora will run in the CART race at Texas Motor Speedway on April 29. The Texas 600 will be aired live on ESPN at 4 p.m. (ET).
Visit Walker Racing on the World Wide Web at www.walkerracing.com