Monday, August 12, 2002

Fisher gets bored leading race

AP Sports Writer

Pole sitter Sarah Fisher leads the field across the starting line of the Belterra Casino Indy 300 at the Kentucky Speedway. She finished eighth.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
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        SPARTA, Ky. — Sarah Fisher's race didn't get exciting until she lost the lead.

        “I found out something today,” said Fisher, the first woman to start from the pole position in a major auto racing series. “Leading a race without passing cars gets boring.

        “Your vision gets blurry and there isn't a lot of excitement when there is no passing going on,” she said.

        Fisher, 21, of Commercial Point, Ohio, led the first 26 laps — also the most by a woman in Indy-racing history — before her first pit stop. After that, it was all catch-up. She managed to work her way up to second but dropped back again to eighth place at the finish of the Belterra Casino Indy 300 on Sunday.

        “The car was pushing from the beginning, and we kept tuning it until the last stop when I asked for one more half-turn (adjustment) of the front wing, which made us loose,” she said.

        “I had a great time racing, especially with (ninth-place finisher) Alex Barron,” Fisher said. “We passed each other back and forth several times and then battled it out for a long stint.”


        ANOTHER CRASH: Crash-prone Tomas Scheckter did it again.

        Two weeks after the IRL rookie won his first race at Michigan, he collided with Airton Dare and went into the wall on the 90th lap on Sunday. It was Scheckter's sixth crash in 12 races this season.

        “My right rear tire went,” he said. “It felt a little bit laggy and I called in thinking it was an engine problem. Dare called it in before the accident, but unfortunately I didn't get the message in time.”

        Driving for former Indy winner Eddie Cheever, Scheckter appeared to become more focused two weeks ago after Cheever hired another driver, Buddy Rice, to motivate him.

        But he also made a costly mistake at the beginning of Sunday's race, passing some cars before he reached the start line, and was called into the pits for a drive-through penalty. That put him at the rear of the 25-car field, but he had the fastest lap of the race — 221.109 mph on the 56th lap — and worked his way back up to 15th before the crash.

        Scheckter, who finished 22nd, and Dare, who was 23rd, were not injured.


        BUSY WEEKEND: It was a busy weekend for Infiniti Pro Series drivers Ed Carpenter and Aaron Fike.

Racing legend A.J. Foyt hugs grandson A.J. IV after he won the Infiniti Pro Series 100.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
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        After qualifying at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday afternoon, they hopped a helicopter for a 95-mile flight to Salem, Ind., where Carpenter won a USAC sprint car race, and Fike finished eighth in a USAC midget car race Saturday night.

        They drove back to Kentucky, arriving about 3 a.m. On Sunday afternoon, Carpenter was runner-up to series leader A.J. Foyt IV. Fike finished 14th in the 100-mile Infiniti race.

        The 18-year-old Foyt, the youngest driver in the IRL developmental series, started from the pole and led all but four of the 67 laps on the 1.5-mile tri-oval. Carpenter led four laps before Foyt went back in front for the final 14 laps.

        Cory Witherill was third, followed by Ronnie Johncox, Matt Beardsley and Arie Luyendyk Jr., son of the two-time Indy 500 winner.


        TIRE TREADS: The best finish by a woman in a major racing series was by Fisher last year, when she was second to IRL champion Sam Hornish Jr. at Homestead, Fla. ... Richie Hearn, who broke his foot in a crash early in the race, was transferred to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for surgery; Bernie Hallisky, a crewman for rookie Tony Renna, broke his leg in a pit accident and was taken to the Indianapolis hospital; Rusty Hurford, another Renna crewman, was taken to a hospital in nearby Carrollton, Ky., with neck pain. ... Felipe Giaffone's victory made him the sixth driver to score his first IRL win this season; there have been six first-time winners in the past seven races. ... Attendance at the 70,000-seat Kentucky Speedway was announced at 49,264.

Actor hurt in Ky. Speedway crash
Giaffone bests Hornish in IRL fight to finish
- Fisher gets bored leading race
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