Fisher Fishing For Fans

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Sarah Fisher will see some old friends as she tries to win over new fans this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Fisher will treat NASCAR Winston Cup fans to a taste of the Indy Racing Northern Light Series on Sunday when she runs several demonstration laps Sunday morning before the NASCAR season finale at the track.

"I'm excited about exposing a new potential fan base to the Indy Racing Northern Light Series," said Fisher, the 20-year-old who finished third in the IRNLS rookie standings. "Indy cars are different from the NASCAR cars. There's a lot more speed during our races, but we're also able to race side by side like the Winston Cup cars do.

"Hopefully when the NASCAR fans see our Walker Racing car at Atlanta, they'll be hooked and will come to our race in April."

Fisher’s laps will commence at approximately 10:45 a.m. Eastern on Sunday.

When she tours the 1.5-mile oval, Fisher will likely go faster than any other driver at the track. The fastest lap a stock car has gone at Atlanta is 197.478 mph in 1997, when Geoffrey Bodine set the track record. This past July, Greg Ray won the IRNLS pole for the Midas 500k with a 216.104 mph lap.

"Atlanta is a very fast race track, and things happen really quickly there," Fisher said. "I love that track. It's one of my favorites."

Fisher will also sign autographs at the track as part of the IRNLS promotion. Eddie Cheever’s No. 51 will also be on display.

For Fisher, the Atlanta appearance will allow her a chance to renew some old acquaintances with drivers she’s raced against in the short-track ranks.

"I'm also looking forward to seeing some friends I know that race in NASCAR now, in particular Dave Blaney, since we used to race sprint cars together," Fisher said.

Fisher’s laps are part of an ongoing IRNLS promotion at tracks that feature both IRNLS and Winston Cup races. At Richmond International Raceway earlier this year, Scott Sharp introduced NASCAR fans to the IRNLS, and last week at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Stephan Gregoire put on a show prior to the NASCAR race.

Fisher’s task in Atlanta appears to be the most important. Prior to the IRNLS race at Atlanta on July 15, promoters suggested that unless there was a significant crowd, the track would not host an event in 2001. Approximately 40,000 fans turned out for the race, less than the track wanted but enough to ensure another year of IRNLS racing, especially considering the crowd was much bigger than the 1999 crowd. Now, the IRNLS hopes to build on that fan base, and Fisher’s efforts are part of that push.

The IRNLS will return to Atlanta Motor Speedway on April 28. It is the last race before the 85th running of the Indianapolis 500.

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