Offseason brings time to reflect and work

This time of year people all around the globe seem to be contemplating the question, "What am I thankful for?"

Thanksgiving for me has always been a great reminder and opportunity to take a step back and put my life into perspective and to be thankful for all the opportunities I have been given. In addition to my family, the first person that comes to mind that has helped me the most recently in my life is Dennis Reinbold.

Dennis has been good to me as an owner and as a friend over the years. From giving me a chance to race with his team back in 2002 at Nazareth to a full-time ride to an opportunity to refresh my name in the IndyCar Series. He even loaned me a set of tires while I was racing out west in NASCAR. Dennis has also always been a great friend to open-wheel racing by fielding a team in the Indy Racing League. So, thanks Dennis.

Here it is already late November. I can't believe Thanksgiving is here. I'll be staying in Indy for Thanksgiving to celebrate with fiance Andy O'Gara's family, then spending the weekend in Ohio to celebrate with my family. Supposedly it's the offseason, but life is keeping me extremely busy. I've been working out daily and entering go-kart races when I have the opportunity. I'm trying to recharge myself on road courses to prepare for the 2007 season.

Being back in a go-kart really brings back the memories. My dad constantly reminds me that I'm a three-time World Karting Association Grand National Champion, but it's been a while. I guess the karting road courses come naturally to me.

I was thankful for the opportunity to race at NewCastle Motorsports Park with Champ Car driver Katherine Legge in the RoboPong.com 200 on Oct. 15. NewCastle is of course owned by former IndyCar Series driver Mark Dismore, so it's always nice to help out a former IndyCar driver. There were also a handful of other IndyCar Series drivers competing, including Dan Wheldon, Scott Dixon, Tomas Scheckter, Robby McGehee and Jeff Simmons.

There were about 80 entries for the race but only 56 karts were allowed to start for the 200-lap contest. Katherine and I finished 31st after a chain came loose from the kart, forcing a string of pit stops to try to correct the problem -- even after all that, I was still the highest finishing IndyCar Series driver.

I hadn't spent much time with Katherine before the race weekend, though we did occasionally cross paths for appearances like the Women in Winner's Circle event that Lyn St. James puts on each year. Katherine is a real racer at heart, and it was tremendous to team up with her. It was the first time I had ever had a female teammate. I would look forward to doing other events with her in the future. Even if we can't team up again, at minimum I've got another new friend who loves open-wheel racing as much as I do. I'll be cheering Katherine on as her career unfolds.

I recently ran an endurance kart race in Norway, Ill., with my fiance -- and we won! Boy, it feels amazing to win. Crossing the finish line in P1 is always a thrill at any level. The speedway really has a great facility and it is a really nice place to race at. It's a really fast track, yet is very technical -- which I love! You can go through the corners with momentum and you really have to utilize your skills to hang onto it. I had so much fun teaming with Andy and look forward to the opportunity to do it again soon.

Besides doing a lot of racing, recently I have been keeping a full schedule with school and attending several appearances as well. School is definitely a challenge but I know I'm not going to be driving race cars forever, so I have to keep up on it. Studying, writing papers and making presentations are also a part of my daily schedule. I'm working toward a business marketing degree … maybe I can do an internship with my marketing team.

Sometimes I feel like those child actors who are on set during the day filming and doing school work at night. Welcome to my world …

I'm so thankful that I have been able to make appearances for different events lately. Part of why I do this is to encourage children of all ages to follow there passions and desires in life. If kids see me as a role model for that, I'm incredibly humbled and honored. Dreams happen daily. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak at the Raytheon's Math Moves U event at Science Central in Fort Wayne, Ind. It was so fun and rewarding to speak to a bunch of children about the opportunities in the math and science industry.

There is an upcoming event for the Make-a-Wish Foundation with Dallas Clark of the Indianapolis Colts that I am really excited about attending. The mission of the Make-A-Wish Foundation is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. All proceeds from this event will directly support granting the wishes of children in Indiana. I strongly believe in the mission of this organization and I'm thrilled to be able to do my part and give back to the community here in Indiana.

On a more relaxing note, I was on the IndyCar Celebration cruise aboard the Disney Wonder that traveled to the Bahamas. We had an amazing time. Laura George did a phenomenal job organizing all the logistics and events for the trip … and what killer events they had planned. The first night Gene Simmons had a Halloween party to kick off the weekend. Andy and I went as a pair of dice. I know, it was a bit cliché, but it was easy! I believe Tony George dressed up as Gene Simmons … so as you can imagine, we all had a good time. It was nice to see all the league, ESPN and IRL teams let loose a bit after a grueling season. If you haven't been on a cruise before, you must go.

I also unexpectedly got tickets to see Jay Leno when he was in Indy speaking on Butler University's campus to wrap up their homecoming celebration. About four years ago I had the privilege to go on Jay's show, so it was nice to see him again. I've always been an avid Tonight Show fan and of course Jay was quite funny as usual.

And, lastly, I'm thankful to have some things in the works for next year. I'm not sure what all they will lead to, but we are definitely pursuing a variety of opportunities.

We've got a great team working every angle possible. It's always good to have a lot of feelers out there and I know I have an immense group of people supporting me and looking out for what's in the best interest for me and my career. And I thank all of them and you the fans for continuing to stick by my side and cheering me on to a comeback I know we are all anticipating. You have no idea how much your support means to me. It's like Where's Waldo. … where will Sarah end up in 2007? If only I knew. But when I know, you'll know.

Let me wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving and don't forget to take a step back and think about what you are thankful for.

More updates to come …


IRL IndyCar Series driver Sarah Fisher is providing a diary to ESPN.com. For more on Sarah, go to www.sarahfisher.com.