Sarah Fisher gets IRL deal to drive at Kentucky

Updated: August 7, 2006, 9:42 PM ET
Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- Sarah Fisher, the first woman to win the pole in a major auto racing series, will make her first IndyCar start since 2004 at the Kentucky Speedway.

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing hired Fisher on Thursday in a one-race deal for the Indy 300 on Aug. 13 that she hopes will lead to a full-time ride in the Indy Racing League.

"It has been some time and there is a lot of catching up to do," she said. "Hopefully it will be like riding a bike, but I am sure that there will be challenges we will have to figure out how to hurdle.

"I want to be there at the end and racing as hard as I did before, and that in itself will achieve results," she said.

The 25-year-old Fisher won the pole at Kentucky in 2002 and still holds the track record in qualifying at 221.390 mph. Rahal Letterman's Danica Patrick became the second woman to win a pole, with three last season, but Fisher's second place at Homestead-Miami in 2001 is still the best finish by a woman in Indy racing.

Patrick is the only other woman currently driving in the IRL's top series. Katherine Legge is a rookie this season in the rival Champ Car series.

"I'm here to race against everyone," said Fisher, who was voted three times by fans as the most popular driver in the IRL. "I'm here to do the best that I can and ultimately get back to the level of IndyCars that put me up front.

"Danica and I are two individuals out there competing in a man's world, whether it is in stock cars or IndyCars," she said. "I don't look at her any differently then all the other drivers. We are different people who want to achieve the same result."

Fisher's only IRL race in 2004 was in the Indianapolis 500, where her 21st-place finish was her best in five starts at the Speedway. She lost her ride with Walker Racing after that; drove in the NASCAR Grand National West series last year, with four top-10 finishes; and had no luck finding a job this season until the deal with Dreyer & Reinbold developed.

"We believe that it is a very good track for her and with the momentum our team has been building, a good result is what we are looking forward to," said team co-owner Dennis Reinbold.

Fisher also drove for the Indianapolis-based team in 2002 and 2003.

She will be the fourth driver for Dreyer & Reinbold this season, following former winners Buddy Lazier and Al Unser Jr. as well as Ryan Briscoe, who is scheduled to drive the final road course of the season at Sonoma, Calif., on Aug. 27, leaving the season's final race at Chicago next month still open for a possible ride for Fisher.

"I am looking at all opportunities," she said. "A 2007 option would be awesome in IndyCars. I still have opportunities in the stock car world. I want to drive a good race car and there is still interest from teams that I have driven for in the past."

Fisher has 48 IndyCar career starts and won $2.3 million.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press