Was fire set to collect insurance money?

Fire Department officials continue to investigate a fire that destroyed a former NASCAR and IndyCar owner's $1.3 million home in Sheridan last year.

The home's owner, Lowell G. "Bob" Hancher, recently agreed to repay his victims nearly $3 million as a result of three separate fraud allegations.

Brian Harwood, an investigator with the Sheridan Fire Department, said Hancher's business dealings "create a lot of suspicions." The state fire marshal's office and Hancher's insurance company are involved in the investigation.

The April fire destroyed the ground floor of the two-story home, causing much of the rest of house to collapse into the basement.

Hancher and his wife, Gretchen, safely escaped the home, which he purchased in December 2007, according to the Boone County Recorder's office. It's believed they have since purchased a 6,000-square-foot golf-course home in the 1100 block of Pebblebrook Drive, Noblesville.

Attempts to contact Hancher, who fielded cars in both the Indy Racing League and NASCAR with ISM Racing in the late 1990s, were unsuccessful.

Hancher faces no criminal charges at this time, but an agreement approved this month as a result of a civil lawsuit by investors means he can no longer serve as an officer or director for any publicly traded company. Indy Star

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