Fisher adjusts to rookie life on car scene

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Author: Ann Tatko
Date: June 16, 2000
Publisher: Tribune Content Agency
Document Type: Article
Length: 568 words

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FOUNTAIN, Colo. _ Sarah Fisher looks completely unfazed as she steps from her team's trailer into a group of reporters Friday afternoon.

She smiles, nods a few greetings and patiently listens as her public relations director rattles off her afternoon schedule - a 20-minute taping for an IRL documentary, a 10-second spot for ABC's Radisson Indy 200 race day coverage, a 15-minute interview with a newspaper.

For four months, Fisher, the 19-year-old driver for Walker Racing, has adjusted to life as a rookie in the Indy Racing Northern Lights Series - a life that includes more fans and more media attention.

When owner Derrick Walker tabbed Fisher as his IRL driver this season, she knew what would follow. After all, she is the youngest person to pass the Indy Racing League rookie test, is the second youngest driver to start in IRL history and is a woman in a male-dominated sport.

So, when Fisher arrived at Pikes Peak International Raceway on Friday, she knew she would be busy long after the practice sessions had ended.

"This is nothing," said her publicist Lisa Sommers with a laugh. "You should have seen the Indy 500. I got an average of 70 calls a day asking for interviews with Sarah."

Yet, even as Fisher copes with living away from home and moving her career into the big leagues, she hasn't really felt the pressure of the attention directed her way.

"We have a great PR department," Fisher said. "Lisa Sommers organizes everything. All I have to do is show up for the interviews."

Not everything about the move to IRL has been as easy.

Fisher skipped the F2000 series, which many former and current rookies have used as a bridge into the IRL. But she had the age and a racing resume that Walker found appealing.

Her parents, both avid racers, introduced her to the sport through quarter midgets at age 5. She went on to race go-karts, sprint cars and then midgets last year, where she won five races.

She had the experience, but mostly on dirt tracks. Joining IRL, she had to quickly adjust to asphalt, concrete and the tough breaks that come with racing.

In her four races this year, she has gone .500 - taking 12th at Texas last week and 13th in her first race at Phoenix, while failing to finish due to accidents in Las Vegas and the Indy 500.

"Finishing the rest of my races is my main goal," Fisher said. "And I wouldn't mind winning one, too."

As she answers yet another question, a man tentatively steps forward.

"Could you sign this for my daughter, Hannah Rose?" he asks, holding out his ticket.

Fisher quickly scrawls the child's name and her own and returns the ticket with a smile.

In four short months she has appeared on "Good Morning America", been featured in People Magazine and become a role model for young girls in every state.

"I'm really not here to be a trend-setter," she said. "I just want to race and win races. That's my priority."

All the rest just comes with the job.


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(c) 2000, The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.).

Visit GT Online, the World Wide Web site of The Gazette, at

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Source Citation

Source Citation   (MLA 8th Edition)
Tatko, Ann. "Fisher adjusts to rookie life on car scene." Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, 16 June 2000, p. K1822. Gale General OneFile, Accessed 19 Nov. 2019.

Gale Document Number: GALE|A62787040