Fisher surprised by gift from sponsor
A crowd of extended family and gathered to see Sarah Fisher's reaction when the blindfold was lifted and she saw the gray car with a red bow in the garage.
"Oh, my gosh!" was what they expected and received.
The car, an unpainted 2009 Dallara chassis lacking many of the details that distinguish it as a race car l brought the IndyCar Series team owner/driver to tears.
"That is so awesome. I got a new car," Fisher said. "I felt like I was on the 'Price is Right.' Imagine what we'll do now."
The first order of business is to prepare the chassis in oval configuration for the Firestone Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Oct. 10. Fisher also will compete in the PEAK Motor Oil & Antifreeze Indy 300 on Aug. 29 at Chicagoland Speedway in the team's seven-year-old car.
"I actually thought I was coming today to shoot a Dollar General commercial," said Fisher, who drives the No. 67 Dollar General entry. "To have a spare car, it means we can be more aggressive and be able to put it on the line even more. It will make a huge difference in our racing efforts.
"Maybe there's an option now to have a second car at Indy once the first car is in solid, and it makes a huge difference in preparation. We'll be able to have a better shot at doing some road course events or some short oval events. We're building, we have some really great people and we're lucky."
The chassis, estimated at $300,000, was provided by Hartman Oil, a sponsor of the second-year team since May 2008. It was while Willis E. "Wink" Hartman was watching ESPN's "SportsCenter" that he first learned of Fisher and the fact that the team's primary sponsor for its first race had pulled out.
"I didn't really at the time think much about it," Hartman said. "It was one of those things that the next morning I was sitting out on the patio and I kept thinking about Sarah Fisher and somebody backing out on her. I didn't know her, but something told me somebody needed to help her."
Hartman did, and he and his wife, Libba, have become part of Sarah Fisher Racing's extended family.
Hartman Oil Co., founded in 1920, is an independent oil and natural gas company involved in the development, acquisition and operation of oil and gas properties in Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Oklahoma. It also operates drilling rigs, a service company and a trucking division.