IRL headlines

In Case You Missed It: Sarah Fisher, Brent Sherman teleconference Lazier, Hemelgarn reunite for Indy 500 entry TV, web see dramatic increases Carpenter fined for post-race comments 1. In Case You Missed It: Sarah Fisher, Brent Sherman teleconference: IndyCar Series driver Sarah Fisher and Firestone Indy Lights driver Brent Sherman were guests on yesterday’s Indy Racing League teleconference. Background on Sarah Fisher: Sarah Fisher is competing in her eighth season in the IndyCar Series. She will make her 2008 debut with Sarah Fisher Racing at the Indianapolis 500. ·         Age: 27 (Birthday is Oct. 4, 1980) ·         Career Starts / 2007: 67 / 17 ·         Career Victories/2007: 0 / 0 ·         Career Top-Five Finishes/2007: 3 / 0 ·         Career Top-10 Finishes/2007: 9 / 2 ·         Career Poles/2007: 1 / 0 ·         Career Highlights: Fisher was the third woman to start the Indianapolis 500 when she qualified for the race in 2000. First woman to win a pole in the IndyCar Series at Kentucky in 2002. Finished a career-best second at Homestead-Miami in 2002. ·         2007 Highlights: Finished 17th in points, recording two top-10 finishes, including a seventh at Iowa. Finished 18th in the Indianapolis 500. ·         Off the Track: Married Andy O’Gara during the offseason and became co-owner of Sarah Fisher Racing. Background on Brent Sherman: Brent Sherman is a rookie in Firestone Indy Lights, driving for Panther Racing. ·         Age: 33 (Birthday is May 24, 1974) ·         Career Starts: 4 ·         Career Victories: 0 ·         Career Top-Five Finishes: 1 ·         Career Top-10 Finishes: 2 ·         Career Poles: 0 ·         Career Highlights: Competed in the NASCAR Nationwide Series from 2005-07. Made six NASCAR Sprint Cup starts in 2006, finishing 20th in the Daytona 500. ·         2008 Highlights: Opened the season with a third-place finish at Homestead-Miami, and finished eighth at Kansas. ·         Off the Track: Served in the U.S. Air Force, conducting combat, surveillance and instruction missions as an Air Surveillance Technician on the E-3 AWACS airplane. They said what...? Listed below are select quotes from today’s teleconference, with the approximate time code from the audio MP3 in parentheses. ***Q: Tell us what it's been like the last couple of months getting ready for the Indy 500, not only looking to it as a driver this year but now also taking on that added responsibility in the role of team owner. SARAH FISHER (19:00): It certainly has been busy. The last month has kicked up quite a bit, as we prepare to move into the Speedway, the end of this week. You know, there's been a lot going on, and just trying to chase everything so that we've got all of our ends tied up before we get on track on Tuesday. You know, it just takes time. And the good thing for me is that I don't do the day‑to‑day operations around here. So I come in and make a couple of decisions and that's about it. ***Q:The IndyCar Series is obviously very competitive this season with the increased car count, 25, 26 regular competitors out there. How does that affect your goal kind of coming in as a start‑up team or your thought process as far as qualifying goes on the first weekend, the second weekend, what's the approach? SARAH FISHER (21:00): Well, I for sure think that the second day is the day we need to get into the show. The first day is really tough. We're not a top-11 team right now, and I think that would be a real high expectation to ask for from a team that just built a car. We're finishing up wiring looms and hard lines that we're building for the very first time. So it's difficult to expect that. But for sure I think we can put it in the show on the second day of the first weekend. ***Q. You did have the opportunity on Monday to stay at Kansas and test an IndyCar Series car, as part of the bonus testing program that took place. What was it like to get that opportunity to drive the IndyCar Series car? BRENT SHERMAN (4:00): It was really good. It is a great program. I didn't really know what to expect, obviously. And it was nice to be able to get some laps in the Indy Lights car and then turn around the next day and have it still fresh in my head. And it was ‑‑ I'd have to say for me it went better than expected. We were up to speed fairly quickly on the first run, and I didn't know how much feedback I'd be able to give to the team and how much I'd really actually be able to help them. But they dialed some downforce in and we were able to take some of that away and really get a feel for what the car wanted and what the car needed to handle better. And we made some changes. And so it was good. It was more than just running around there getting, them giving me laps. We were actually able to make some changes and I was able to feel, get a really good feel for what the car was like. And I had no idea what to expect and I'd have to say from my aspect, I thought it went fairly well and that it was a success. So it just made me want more. So now after I got out of the car I called (team owner) John Barnes and said, ‘Look, I'm ready for the 500 this year, let's do it.’ So I didn't get a comment back. So I'm assuming that's a no. There’s more: The complete transcript and complete audio recording in MP3 format are available at www.indycar.com/media. Please contact IRL Public Relations for log-in information if necessary. *** 2. Lazier, Hemelgarn reunite for Indy 500 entry: Ron Hemelgarn and Buddy Lazier are reuniting to compete in the 92nd Indianapolis 500. Lazier, the 1996 winner of the 500-Mile Race and the 2000 IndyCar Series champion, will drive the No. 91 Hemelgarn Johnson entry as he attempts to qualify for his 16th Indianapolis 500. Lazier made his Indy 500 debut in 1991 and won “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on his fourth attempt, leading 43 laps after starting fifth. Last year, he improved three positions to finish 19th in a Sam Schmidt Motorsports car. “I love the Indianapolis 500 and everything about the IndyCar Series,” said Lazier, who finished second in the 500 in 1998 and 2000 and fifth in 2005. “I lie awake at night because I want to be part of it. Ron has given me an opportunity to be part of it. We’ve struggled and we’ve had success together in the past. The two of us have experienced what it’s like to finish 33rd and have a horrible day, and we’ve experienced winning. It’s nice to be back together. It’s a last-minute program, but we’re going to make the best of it. I think we’ll have a strong race car and we’ll be a factor on race day.” For Hemelgarn, this year marks the 30th year he has participated in the Indianapolis 500 as either a sponsor or team owner. “Buddy and I go back to 1989,” Hemelgarn said. “We’ve had great success together winning races, winning a championship and winning the Indianapolis 500. We’re assembling a team again to run the 500. We’re all very excited about it. We have the same crew chief as our championship year, Lee Kunzman is still there. We’re looking forward to it. It’s an exciting time, and hopefully we’ll do well.” *** 3. TV, web see dramatic increases: ESPN2’s telecast of the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 April 27 averaged a .74 household coverage rating, an increase of 164 percent over last year’s telecast from Kansas Speedway. The rating is ESPN2’s second-highest for an IndyCar Series race, trailing only the 2008 season opener from Homestead-Miami Speedway that averaged a .8. In addition, indycar.com had more than 146,000 visits during the two-day race weekend, an increase of 74.2 percent over 2007. Use of the Timing & Scoring application increased 151.69 percent. For the year, traffic at indycar.com has increased 94.65 percent, with more than 3.38 million visits. *** 4. Carpenter fined for post-race comments: IndyCar Series officials have fined Vision Racing’s Ed Carpenter an undisclosed amount for using inappropriate language during interviews at the April 27 Road Runner Turbo Indy 300. Carpenter was penalized for violating Rule 8.3 A of the IndyCar Series rulebook, improper conduct. ***             The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at noon (EDT) by ABC. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPNDeportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and indycar.com. The 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season continues May 23 at Indianapolis. The Kansas Lottery 100 will be telecast at 2 p.m. (EDT) on May 1 by ESPN2.