Mile-and-a-half package out of tune in Nashville
Sarah Fisher struggled at rainy Nashville last weekend, but this week brings new hope: She's back in her home state of Ohio for the inaugural Honda Indy 200.
Updated: July 20, 2007, 12:50 PM ETBy Sarah Fisher | Special to ESPN.com
Ah, to be honest with you, I'm kind of glad that the Nashville race is over. We went into the weekend knowing that our mile-and-a-half package just wasn't doing the job this season. It's something we need to work on and evaluate. To say we are still learning is an understatement.Buddy Rice and I both qualified toward the back of the field at Nashville and it's really hard to pass at that track, so it was going to be a long day for both of us. Of course as soon as driver intros were over, there came the rain. Not just normal rain -- a torrential downpour. It was the first rain postponement since the Texas race in June 2000; that was a while ago.
After completing only two road course races thus far in my career, I still need all the seat time I can get.
Having the race postponed by a day really turned the weekend into a long one; we've been going strong since the 21st of June. But, it is what it is, so we raced on Sunday. Our first pit stop was terrible as I hit my right rear tire changer's tire, which sent it sailing down pit road. Whoops. That's where the problems began, the race turned into a struggle for us and we didn't do much better than where we started (17th), finishing 15th. What a tough weekend.On Tuesday I had planned on going to New Castle MotorSports Park with Kyle (my fiance Andy's brother) to let him do some work in the shifter kart. I was also going to get some laps in before the weekend's race at Mid-Ohio. But again, rain plagued us all day, so I never made it out on track. Wednesday, it was back on the road, this time to Ohio -- my home state! On the way down, I did a one-hour satellite-radio tour with a variety of stations across the country: Syracuse, N.Y.; Columbus, Ohio; Hartford, Conn.; Baltimore; Madison, Wis.; and Atlanta. Here I'd been on radio stations all over and I hadn't even had my coffee yet!Ah yes, Exit 104 ... Starbucks! This is the route I take home when I head back to see Mom and Dad in Commercial Point. I did a few other interviews and discussed some other business with my publicist before we made it to our final destination (do I sound like a flight attendant?): Merrysville, Ohio. Grandma use to live here while she was still living, just down the street from the Honda plant.We had some lunch at Applebee's and in walked a group in all white. Here I thought the local pharmacists had come in for lunch, but instead it was workers from Honda. Into Honda we went and everyone was dressed in all white. Interesting.So along with the Scotts (Scott Dixon and Scott Sharp) and a few ALMS drivers, we had a plant tour, media and an autograph session planned. The tour of the plant was so cool. At this particular location, they made Elements (only place in world they are made), CR-Vs and Civics. CR-Vs were the cars on the production line at the time of our tour. Every five minutes, a robot would go by and you'd have to move out of its way; I really thought I was going to get run over more than once. Ha! Do you remember that movie with robots in it from the '90s?Boy, was it neat seeing all the different stations and seeing the cars move along the line to completion -- Dad would have really loved this! Then it was up to the cafeteria for some local media, then an autograph session for the employees and their families. By the end of it, I had gotten slaphappy so everything seemed funny.Good-bye to Honda and the Scotts, and it was back on the road. This time we were off to Akron. The All-American Soap Box Derby was in town so there were kids everywhere, which was cool. Some dinner and looking for an AT&T store rounded out the evening. Sharp and Dixon both have iPhones and my publicist, Klint, has been telling me all about them so we thought we would go play with them a bit but, alas, COB (close of business) had been reached. Ugh!Thursday we had our annual Racing for Kids visit; we were at Akron Children's Hospital. Robbie Buhl met us there with his daughter, along with some folks from Firestone. The show car also made it outside and we were off and running. We came around one corner and there was a Shetland pony!!! I nearly fell to the floor laughing -- I couldn't believe it. His name was Petie and he visits children who are in the hospital just like us! He also has an autograph card and his caretaker hands out stuffed animals that mimic his image -- very cool. Ah, another race weekend. This is the last one until Michigan; we finally have a weekend off, which is much needed. Mid-Ohio is the first road course that I will be returning to. We tested here in June unlike the other road courses -- I had never been to either St. Pete and Watkins Glen before the race weekend. So, I'm hoping since I've been here before, I will have committed some of what I learned before the weekend to memory. After completing only two road-course races thus far in my career, I still need all the seat time I can get. So, I am excited about going back to a track that I have tested at for at least a day. It's hard to catch up on experience overnight! After the race on Sunday, I have a pretty low-key week planned with an appearance at the Lyn St. James Women in the Winner's Circle event and perhaps the Jeff Gordon Celebrity Bowling tournament. Then it's to the lake for some boating. We'll be racing at 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday on ABC. Catch us on TV, or if you are in the Lexington area, make sure to stop by and say hello. -- S
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.
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