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California has me dreaming of racing again
By Sarah Fisher
Special to ABC Sports Online

Throughout the 2002 IRL season, Sarah Fisher is writing a diary for ABC Sports Online. Fisher has not found a sponsor yet, and is writing about her experiences as she tries to get back on the track.

I headed out to California Speedway on Saturday and talked to a LOT of people. It's so great to continue to see all the support from the teams and fans. I even got a chance to help a little girl who was doing a report for school, and wanted to ask me a couple questions about my racing. She was so sweet and innocent, and she really showed how big of a fan she truly is. It was a change of pace to have the time to sit down with a fan since I wasn't in a car, and wouldn't have had a chance to talk to if I was driving. Hopefully she will get an "A" on her report!

Sam Hornish Jr
Sam Hornish Jr. edged Jaques Lazier in the Yamaha Indy 400 by .0281 second.
The IRL's first race at California Speedway was flat-out awesome! It makes me wonder what the driver's meetings are like nowadays, because most of the drivers were courteous and careful about their passing here, even with the neck-to-neck racing.

For the first time in a long while, you could easily throw a blanket over the entire field at once. It strongly resembled a short track race, only for 400 miles. This was one of those races that I deeply miss as the head-to-head competition is the most fun part of racing that a driver enjoys.

Again, thanks to the IRL, I was able to watch the race from the spotter's stand. There were a lot of spotters who were very nice to me and made me feel right at home up there. Watching from the top of the grandstands was definitely an experience and I learned from the many drafting techniques that were used throughout the race. It's a completely different perspective from the sky. After today, I am definitely determined to be in a car soon …

The next racing-oriented trip for me will be on April 2nd at the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Long Beach Grand Prix Media day, where the competitors get a chance to drive our Toyota Celicas on the Long Beach circuit and get firsthand experience with what we will encounter during the April 11th race. So far, the experience has been a lot of fun and dealing with the Toyota folks has been wonderful. This opportunity has given me a chance at the wheel I otherwise wouldn't have and I am so ready to race!

My quest to get back in an IRL car is progressing well. I have figured out that successful people have the (guts) to take chances that average people wouldn't. With confidence in my decisions, I am trying to get into a car by the Indy 500. I have said it before and stand by it today, that I will do anything possible to stay involved in the IRL and this week, I have taken actions to prove just that.

It's hard to go to the place I am going, but without challenges we cannot grow. A driver cannot express in words how much it hurts to stand by and watch while others enjoy the career they strive for. This weekend just added to my anticipation. Teamwork is so important to me, it is vital for success. To work like a basketball team, you need to stick together like one, so I'll end today by saying …Go IU Hoosiers!

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Hornish gives Oscar-winning performance

Yamaha Indy 400 results

Notebook: Penske drivers in top five again

Miller: IRL debut flops at Fontana's turnstiles

Sarah Fisher Diary: Back on the track

Sarah Fisher Diary: A new perspective


video
 Sam Hornish Jr. recaps his victory at Fontana, Calif.
RealVideo: 56.6 | ISDN | T1

 Sam Hornish Jr. and Jaques Lazier's battle led to the second closest finish in IRL history.
RealVideo: 56.6 | ISDN | T1

 Jaques Lazier is satisfied with a second-place finish and the impact it will have in the weeks to come.
RealVideo: 56.6 | ISDN | T1