Dream of racing an IndyCar still holding strong
It's three or four in the morning and I'm coming around Turn 1 at Kentucky Speedway and it's very bumpy -- there's the line as I head into Turn 2.
I wonder if the line has changed much from the last time I was here. This has become a familiar dream for me as I constantly picture laps around the track, just like way back when. It's like night and day for me. Wondering what Turn 1 looks like at speed and where the bumps are at it's hard to believe I can remember all of that.
To say I haven't been busy since our announcement that I would run at Kentucky would obviously be a lie. But before I knew it, the time was here last Thursday and we were ready to release a statement that I would drive for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing again. It's hard to believe I haven't been in an IndyCar since May of 2004 with Kelly Racing, but this time will be a lot different.
I'm joining a team I'm familiar with, so I don't need to spend time meeting new people. I know everyone on the DRR team and they are my friends and some my family. I've been following them to the track and know the team dynamics. Heck, some of these guys I've been working with off and on since 2002. It should be a relatively easy installation putting me in the car, which will be a big benefit over my Kelly Racing deal for the Indianapolis 500 back in 2004.
The day we finally had everything finalized, wouldn't you know it would be one of my busiest days as I had a number of events I was committed to attend. Last Thursday I attended the Lyn St. James Women in Winner's Circle event along with the Jeff Gordon Celebrity Bowling Tournament, which both fell right in the middle of our announcement. I also work for a marketing company based out of Atlanta called Ignition, Inc., and I had a commitment to them to work on a few things which added to my busy day.
I also had to swing by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway over the weekend as well for some things for Ignition and for NASCAR. I guess it just goes back to who you know and where you are at and the timing of everything.
In the racing world, it's really a business about learning more about being a better communicator and this is part of the reason why I asked my crew chief, Gary Neal, to join me out at NewCastle Motorsports Park on Sunday to run my shifter kart.
Getting the shifter kart out gives me quality time to spend in this short period of time with my new crew chief. We worked on timing -- when to shift here and when you shift there, etc. My fiancÚ, Andy O'Gara, who will be one of my tire changers, his little brother Kyle, who is 11 and whom I have been mentoring, and Gary joined me on the track to get my muscles back in action before the Kentucky weekend. My heart rate was down a lot, which means my exercising has really paid off and I'm in great condition.
On Monday I was fitted for my seat at the shop and it was really nice to get back in the car. It came back really easily. We had a guy come out and do my seat for me.
He's done all my old seats in the past and it's easy working with him. It felt really comfortable and made me feel relaxed to be laid back down again as ooposed to being in an upright seat like you would find in a stock car.
I was also able to knock out some media interviews that my PR guy, Klint Briney, had set up for me while I was in the shop and ended the day with a live interview with ESPNews.
Going into this weekend there isn't really a lot of pressure on me -- if anything probably just personal pressure.
We aren't expecting miracles to happen when I go out there. Obviously DRR hasn't been consistently in the top 10, but I'm rooting for a top-10 as a personal goal. More than that, I just want to go out there and get some good laps in, get some consistency and get my name back on the books.
We'll have a half-day of testing Thursday which will allow me to get my confidence back in an IndyCar. Having been out of an IndyCar for two years, testing will allow for some time to get back up to speed.
This weekend is really just going to be a great opportunity for me to get back in the race car. Dennis Reinbold has been good to me as a car owner and hopefully I can give some of that back to him this weekend. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to this weekend and being able to do it at Kentucky makes it all the better.
My friends and family will be at the race in Kentucky and I hope you'll join them at the track or root for us on ABC (3:30 p.m. ET). To my fans, thanks for all your e-mails and well-wishes, they have meant a lot to me.
I've been sitting on the IndyCar sidelines cheering for my fellow competitors but this weekend I'll join them in the quest to be the first to cross that coveted finish line.
IRL IndyCar Series driver Sarah Fisher drives the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing No. 5 Dallara/Honda. She is providing a diary to ESPN.com. For more on Sarah, go to www.sarahfisher.com.