Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing
|Owner(s)||The O'Gara Family (Andrew and Sarah)
Willis E. Hartman
|Series||IZOD IndyCar Series|
|Race drivers||67 Josef Newgarden|
Engine: HondaChassis: Dallara
|Debut||2008 Indianapolis 500|
Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) is an auto racing team that competes in the IZOD IndyCar Series, founded in January 2008. The team is jointly owned by former driver Sarah Fisher, her husband Andrew O'Gara, and businessman Willis "Wink" E. Hartman. They currently run the #67 for 2011 Indy Lights champion Josef Newgarden.
2008 IndyCar Series
SFR was originally founded in late 1999 as a platform to handle Sarah Fisher's endorsements and business ventures. Fisher announced on February 27, 2008, that she would begin fielding her own race team in the IndyCar Series in 2008. Fisher, along with her husband Andy O'Gara, his father, John O'Gara and Fisher's then-agent/manager Klint Briney all left Dreyer & Reinbold Racing to start SFR.
The team announced a partial schedule for the 2008 IndyCar Series season that will include the Indianapolis 500. The team's primary sponsor for the Indianapolis 500 was set to be Gravity Entertainment who claimed to represent and have rights to RESQ energy drink, set for a new product launch in May, but when May arrived Gravity Entertainment (who in fact, did not have the rights to represent RESQ as it turned out) failed to deliver any money and put the team's plans of competing at the Indy 500 along with Kentucky and Chicago in jeopardy.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway opened for practice on Tuesday, May 6, 2008 for the 2008 Indy 500 and Fisher's team continued to move forward without primary sponsorship. The team became front and center when then-presidential hopeful Senator Hillary Clinton paid the team a visit on Indiana's primary election day creating a media frenzy.
As the month went on, SFR continued to pick up associate sponsors, which included Hartman Oil, ProLiance Energy, AAA, Direct Supply, Indianapolis college, IUPUI, as well donations from fans at $51,000 dollars. Fisher solidly placed the car in the field in 22nd position and picked up Text4Cars.com as the primary sponsor on the Friday before the Indy 500-mile (800 km) race. The race started on a bad note for the team when the car stalled at the green flag but the team was able to get it going again. Fisher spun on the first caution but made no contact on Lap 12 in Turn 4. She was not as lucky on Lap 106 when a crash by Tony Kanaan collected her car landing her in a disappointing 30th, after running as high as third in the race. After the race, Fisher told ESPN's Jamie Little she was unsure if the team would be able to make it to Kentucky and Chicago because of the crash.
The team announced on July 16, 2008, that Dollar General has become the primary sponsor for the Kentucky Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway races. Fisher tested at Kentucky Speedway on July 31 and August 1 in preparation for the upcoming Meijer Indy 300. Fisher qualified 16th for the race, ran as high as 10th, before a right rear suspension failure on the final lap hampered her finish. The failed part sent Fisher coasting to the finish line to finish 15th. Fisher crashed out of the Chicagoland Speedway race on lap 116 and was credited with 24th.
2009 IndyCar Series Season
The team returned in 2009 with Sarah Fisher as driver for six (6) races and Dollar General as a sponsor. It was announced on January 13, 2009, in USA Today that the team would run four (4) events and later added two (2) additional races April 26, 2009. The team qualified 21st for the 2009 Indianapolis 500. and finished 17th. The team was showcased on three national programs during May, which included The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CBS' The Price is Right and FUSE TV's No. 1 Countdown.
It was announced at the end of 2009 that the team would expanded to two cars for the 2010 season. Fisher would drive the #67 in seven races with Dollar General (all the ovals with the exception of Japan), and newly hired Jay Howard would drive the #66 Service Central machine in Kansas, Indy, Texas, Mid-Ohio, and Chicagoland. SFR put Howard quickly to work to build his brand name joining forces with MTV for a national promotion where Howard served as a driver coach for a music-obsessed teen named Lauren for four weeks during MTV's primetime show Real World/Road Rules Challenge beginning Oct. 28 and ending Nov. 18 with the fifth installment airing during the mtvU Woodie Awards in 2009.
2010 IZOD IndyCar Series Season
The 2010 season began with Fisher's longtime agent/manager Klint Briney resigning his position with her team, leaving to start the talent agency, BRANDed. Fisher was slated to open the season at St. Pete but Graham Rahal replaced Fisher for two road course events in 2010 (St. Pete and Barber Motorsports Park) and the team later added Long Beach to Rahal's schedule. The team continued to struggle in 2010 with just one top-10 finish (ninth at St. Pete with Rahal) and the balance of the teams results were 15th place or worse. The team pulled Howard's 2010 Indy 500 qualifying time on Bump Day on a gamble to duplicate his already qualified time, leaving the No. 66 Service Central machine without a spot in the 94th running of the Indianapolis 500.
At ChicagoLand Speedway, Fisher lead her first laps since 2002 under a pit strategy, but later went two-laps down to finish 15th, while her teammate Howard's car continued to have issues and which would fulfill Howard's contract with the team. In an effort to salvage the teams relationship with Howard's sponsor, SFR agreed to fulfill Service Central's five-race (Howard drove in just four events after the team pulled his qualifying time for the Indy 500) agreement and added the Kentucky Indy 300 race to the No. 66 car schedule but chose to have Rahal drive the car. The change didn't seem to pay off as Rahal qualified just 25th of 27th cars for the twilight race, finishing 20th (5 laps down) and the last car running and urged media outlets including SpeedTV and the Indianapolis Star to note the No. 66 car has been slow regardless of the driver.
2011 IZOD IndyCar Series Season
Fisher announced her retirement on Monday, November 29, 2010, after 25 years of racing while also announcing that Ed Carpenter would be the team's new driver beginning in 2011. The team would celebrate its first win at the 2011 Kentucky Indy 300 on October 2, 2011, Carpenter beating defending series champion Dario Franchitti to the line by .0098 seconds. At the end of the season, Dollar General ended their sponsorship of SFR, and Ed Carpenter left to start his own racing team.
2013 IZOD IndyCar Series Season
Century 21 Real Estate announced at their annual convention that they are the team's official IndyCar sponsor for the Indianapolis 500. The car's number will be changed to #21 for the race. Lucas Luhr will partner Newgarden at Sonoma.
Complete Indycar results
- Sarah Fisher Plans Own Indycar Team, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, February 28, 2008
- Sarah Fisher Plans Own Indycar Team, Auto Racing Daily, February 28, 2008
- Fisher Still Fighting Uphill Money Race, USA Today, May 8, 2008
- Hillary Clinton visits Sarah Fisher at Indy, NBC Sports, May 22, 2008
- Sarah Fisher has Indy 500 Sponsor, Motorsports Forum, May 6, 2008
- Sarah Fisher's Frustration Boils Over, Indianapolis Star, May 26, 2008
- Indycar.com Press Release
- Indianapolis Star article
- Zahren, Bill. Klint Briney Forms His Own (PR) Team, Pressdog, January 29, 2010, Retrieved 2010-08-15
- Ryan, Nate. Graham Rahal to drive two IndyCar races for Sarah Fisher, USA Today, March 10, 2010, Retrieved 2010-08-15
- Bromberg, Nick. Bump Day at Indy: Kanaan finally qualifies, Tracy misses out, From the Marbles (Yahoo Sports), May 23, 2010, Retrieved 2010-08-15
- Associated Press. Sarah Fisher Retiring From Racing, WTHR, November 29, 2010, Retrieved 2010-11-29
- 16thandGeorgetown.com. Ed Carpenter Racing Full-time in 2012, November 2, 2011, Retrieved 2012-03-30
- Inman.com. Century 21 sponsoring IndyCar, Mar 15, 2013