Sarah Fisher – IndyCar driver/owner turned go-kart owner

Sarah Fisher
With IndyCar TV ratings so low on NBCSN it was impossible to find another sponsor to replace Hartman Oil, Sarah Fisher was forced out of the sport

If Sarah Fisher is sorrowful, she represses it well.

Maybe she’s preoccupied. Maybe she just hasn’t reached one of those sentimental milestones yet. Maybe she realizes life as an IndyCar veteran and icon could be as rewarding, and less financially draining, than as a team owner.

In any case, the 35-year-old pioneering former IndyCar driver became a former IndyCar owner with the official announcement that Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing had become simply Ed Carpenter Racing on Thursday.

Her portion of an eight-year partnership undone when business partner and oil magnate Wink Hartman decided to leave the business amid a volatile energy sector market, Fisher will focus on the 60,000-square-foot karting facility in Indianapolis she and husband Andy O’Gara are set to open in April. Part of that was meeting with U.S. Customs officials Thursday to take delivery of her Italian race karts, minutes before ECR officially released the news.

Another part will be working at ECR in sponsor development — she’ll maintain an office at the shop — and another will undoubtedly be parceling some of her time for use by the Verizon IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway as she remains an immensely popular figure five years after retiring as a driver.

But some of it will still be worrying about money.

“I’m not jumping for joy, but I’m not really sad either," Fisher told USA TODAY Sports. “It’s a lot that Ed’s taking on.

“In the past eight years, it’s just a lot to shoulder and this facility just down the street is just a $5 million dollar project so it’s a lot of stress in itself. And we don’t have any investors in it. It’s just Andy and I. It’s not like I’m wiping my butt with money. You can ask the bank."

After 11 years as an IndyCar driver, in which she became the youngest (19) woman to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 2000, the first female podium finisher and the winner of a major open-wheel pole, Fisher became IndyCar’s first female and youngest owner in 2008.

Though her most fulfilling moments as an owner were expanding the business and cultivating Josef Newgarden into a possible championship contender, both came at a cost. Before the merger with Carpenter’ team before last season, she had been forced to sell shares in SFHR to accomplish both. When Hartman’s exodus became more apparent at the end of the 2015 season, she knew hers would follow.

With Speedway officials already calling and a karting facility still to launch, Fishers has plenty to do. But she doesn’t rule out a return as an IndyCar owner under the proper parameters.

“I am not saying I will not ever, ever be back in the sport some way or another," she said. “I just, gosh … This is what is it today." Brant James/USA Today

Leave a Reply