Indy Notebook: Rookie Fisher On The Pace

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indy Racing Northern Light Series rookie Sarah Fisher showed during testing last week that her preparation for her first Indianapolis 500 is on schedule.

Fisher, 19, completed 207 laps around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the No. 15 Walker Racing Cummins Dallara/Oldsmobile, reaching a top speed of 218.50 mph. Fisher competed in a Riley & Scott chassis in the MCI WorldCom 200 in March at Phoenix and the Vegas Indy 300 in March at Las Vegas.

"The Indy 500 is just so competitive that a team needs to use every advantage it can, and we are just trying to see which chassis performs better at the Speedway," she said. "We're trying the Dallara to just utilize a different strategy.

"With the speeds at Indy being as close as they are, you have to try every angle you can."

The team officially switched to the Dallara for its primary car at Indy late last week.

Fisher and the rest of the field for the Indianapolis 500 will take to the 2.5-mile oval next on May 13, opening day for the race’s 84th edition.

REFRESHED AND READY: Drivers Stan Wattles and Dan Drinan passed refresher tests May 3 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, clearing them to start practice for the 500.

Wattles and Drinan will be Hemelgarn Racing teammates with 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier. Wattles will drive the No. 92 March Indy International-Hemelgarn Racing Riley & Scott/Oldsmobile, and Drinan will drive the No. 93 Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile.

24 AND A VETERAN: Jimmy Kite is starting to feel like an experienced hand at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at the ripe old age of 24.

Kite will attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 for the third consecutive year, this year with Blueprint Racing. He drove for McCormack Motorsports last year at Indy, finishing 24th. He was 11th as a rookie in 1998 driving for Team Scandia.

"I just look forward to going back to Indy," Kite said. "It's the best race in the world, and it is the most important race I can win in my life. I’m starting to enjoy this place, and I think that will show this month.

"The last two years, I was freaked out at this time. In 1998, it was my rookie year, and I was going to be running Indianapolis for the first time. Last year, I didn't even have a ride at this time. But this year I have no worries."

Kite finished a season-best 16th in the Vegas Indy 300 last month in the No. 27 Blueprint Racing G Force/Oldsmobile.

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