IRL: Fisher Phoenix race notes

PHOENIX, Mar. 18, 2001 -- Walker Racing driver Sarah Fisher's race ended early today at Phoenix International Raceway. Sarah, in the ...

PHOENIX, Mar. 18, 2001 -- Walker Racing driver Sarah Fisher's race ended early today at Phoenix International Raceway. Sarah, in the #15 Walker Racing/Kroger/Iams/ Pantene Special /Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone car started the race in 21st position,and had moved as high as 13th place when her engine failed on lap 145, relegating her to 17th position overall.

Sarah's first pit stop during the race came on lap 21, when she pitted for fuel and fresh tires under yellow flag conditions. The second stop also came under yellow on lap 80, and Sarah was the 13th car back out on the track. The third stop was unexpected, as Sarah ran over some oil on the track due to Greg Ray's engine letting go immediately in front of her, and she pitted for fresh tires under green conditions.

Unfortunately, the track went yellow the lap after Sarah went back out on track after the green flag stop, and it cost her some track positions when other cars pitted under the yellow. Pit stop number four for Sarah was also under yellow, and was only for fuel. She entered the pits in 16th position, and gained two positions when she exited, moving her up to 14th. Sarah had moved up to 13th by lap 137 and held her position until her engine let go in the middle of turns three and four on lap 145. Sarah was able to control the car down the front straightaway and brought it to a halt in the grass in turn one.

"We were making some great progress in the race today, compared to last year when we were here," Sarah said. "I feel a lot more confident on the racetrack now, and our team did an awesome job today, during all of our pit stops and especially when I made an unexpected pit stop on lap 121. My car performed very consistently during the race as well. You know you have a good racecar when the only thing you have to do during the race is to adjust the sway bars and nothing else. It was great to have Derrick (Walker) spotting for me as well today, and I think if we didn't have the engine problem, we would have finished in the top ten."

Sarah's first race for the Walker Racing team was last year at Phoenix, and she now has one year's worth of experience under her belt for Derrick's team. "When you look at Sarah a year ago here and now, she's really matured a long way and looked a class act out there today," said Derrick. "We didn't have the end result we had hoped for today, but I think if we had not encountered our engine problem, we were heading for a top-ten finish today, which was our objective heading into the race. Something broke in the engine in a dramatic fashion, and we lost power immediately. Until we get it all apart, we won't really know what went wrong. We started the race in 21st position, and there's a lot of cars to pass when you do that, but with good driving by Sarah and good pit stops, we were headed to a top ten finish today up to the point where we went out of the race."

Round two of the Indy Racing Northern Light Series will take place on April 8 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be aired on ABC at 2 p.m. (ET)

-Walker Racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray