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A grueling month
By Sarah Fisher
Special to ABC Sports Online

Sarah Fisher had high expectations heading into last Sunday's Indianapolis 500. A crash on lap 8 put her out of the race and ended her bid to become the first woman to win at Indy. In the latest installment of her season-long diary, Fisher writes about her experience at the Brickyard and all the media attention that came with it.

The month of May was a unique experience this year.

Sarah Fisher
Sarah Fisher's Indy 500 dreams ended in disappointment.

After I qualified in 15th position for the Indianapolis 500, interest in our program intensified and we had a lot more fan and media attention. Although we couldn't do all the interviews and I couldn't sign all the autographs that were requested, it was still wonderful to have that kind of support.

We did do a few memorable interviews during May, one being NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw. They came out to the track on a Wednesday and followed our team around for the day. Then Ann Thompson interviewed me and they aired a really nice interview the following Wednesday.

We also did the national portion of the Bob and Tom Show one morning. Host Chick McGee and I did a shopping cart race around a local Kroger store and I got to find the products that were on my car including Iams, Pantene, Always, Folgers, Oil of Olay, Bounty and Folgers Coffee, while Chick had to find really obscure items including toothpicks. That was a lot of fun.

I also participated in several autograph sessions and appearances for sponsors including Kroger and Firestone, and several group interviews and press conferences.

On Carb Day, the last day of practice before the race, we worked on our setup for race day and all was going fine until the gearbox broke, cutting our day a little short. However, we were glad that the problem happened that day instead of on race day.

The rest of the days leading up to the race were spent doing more appearances, including a national interview on Good Morning America the Friday before the race. Host Robin Roberts came to Indianapolis to ride in the Oldsmobile Bravada pace car with me and I think I scared her a little. Then she interviewed me in front of my racecar and we talked about the race.

On the morning of the race, I spent my time relaxing and trying to keep a low profile so I could concentrate. We didn't do any interviews except one with Jack Arute for the ABC broadcast to help us keep our focus for the day.

Race day was very cold and overcast, totally unlike any of the weather we had practiced in during the entire month, and that contributed to the problem we had on lap 8. The race had been yellow-flagged on the opening lap of the race due to Scott Sharp's accident. We had just gone green again on lap 7, and when I was turning into Turn 2, my car got very loose and I went below the white line on the track. I couldn't hold on and ended up hitting the wall.

While that was bad enough, Scott Goodyear was also collected in my accident and ended up in the hospital with a fractured lower back. When I was released from the Infield Care Center that day, I went over to Scott to make sure he was OK and to apologize to him. He was released from Methodist on Thursday and is at home recuperating. I wish him all the best and hope he is back racing very soon.

I'd like to thank all the fans for the enormous outpouring of support both before and after my accident on race day. It is so great to have such support.

I'd also like to thank my team for all their hard work during May and apologize to them and our sponsors Kroger, Iams, Pantene, Gain, Oil of Olay, Always, Folgers, Bounty Mead, Kraft, Valvoline and Firestone for such a disappointing finish that day.

All I can say is watch us at Texas on June 9.

IRL driver Sarah Fisher drives the No. 15 Walker Racing/Kroger Special. She pens a diary for ABC Sports Online throughout the season.  HELP |  ADVERTISER INFO |  CONTACT US |  TOOLS |  SITE MAP
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