Fishers Fame Has Just Begun
August 8, 2000 | 12:00 A.M. EST
The young Walker Racing driver’s name and face has appeared in dozens of newspapers across the country. She has been featured on ESPN, ABC and TNN, among others.
It’s all old hat for her. She’s so used to it by now it doesn’t even phase her.
Fisher will appear on the cover of the September issues of teen magazines Teen People and MXG Magazine.
Fisher did the interview and photo shoot for the Teen People article at the Indy Racing Northern Light series Pikes Peak race, while the MXG shoot was at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
"When magazine articles like this come out, a lot of the time I hear about them from family and friends because it takes so long after the interview for them to be printed," Fisher said. "It's not like with a newspaper article, you do the interview one day, and then it's in print the next. This is a delayed surprise."
Fisher’s appearance in the magazine comes in a season marred by both compliments and complaints. Although drivers such as Eddie Cheever Jr. acknowledge that she is making history and changing the face of auto racing, some still feel she doesn not belong.
"She's big for motor racing, not just the IRL," Cheever said. "I have an 11-year-old daughter who just loves Sarah."
Now that Cheever’s daughter wants to be a race-car driver like her hero Fisher, he just smiles: "I wish she had never heard of Sarah Fisher."
"I don’t look at her as a female racing competitor," Cheever said before the Indianapolis 500 in May. "I look at her as a very dedicated, hungry, aggressive competitor."
Still, drivers such as Eilseo Salazar are quite vocal about their feelings.
At the Vegas Indy 300 on April 22, just her second IRL race, Fisher was running in third place in front of Salazar when she blew a tire and spun out, ending the day for both drivers.
Following the race, Salazar was quite vocal about Fisher, and the media listened.
"This is serious stuff," he said. "This is not for her."
"I think he was just upset about the whole thing," she said. "But it’s not the first time someone has crashed and taken him out, too, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. That’s part of racing."
Salazar later attempted to amend his comments, adding that for him "it’s not a gender deal."
Fisher just shrugged off Salazar’s comments and moved forward.
"I've always had controversy," she said. "Little things where people don't think I belong. But it's only the one or two, never the whole crowd. Ninety-nine percent of these guys are very positive."
As supportive as and optimistic Cheever is, he admits Fisher is not an all-around great driver yet and has a lot to learn.
"She's is more than capable of driving fast," Cheever said. "But she hasn't learned what racing is yet. If she's patient and continues to learn, there is no reason she can't be running with the lead pack sooner or later."
With a secure ride and at just 19, Fisher has nothing to do but be patient and continue to learn. Her 15 minutes may have just begun.