Indy 500: Cash-strapped Fisher finds sponsor
INDIANAPOLIS ó Sarah Fisher thought she had survived racing’s toughest hardships ó the crashes, driving second-tier cars and finding work when few jobs were available.
The past two weeks have changed her perspective.
After starting her own team this season, Fisher planned to run three IndyCar races with the financial help coming primarily from ResQ, a sports drink company, and Gravity Entertainment. But when neither sponsor paid the bills, the 27-year-old Ohio native had to scramble for cash at the same time she was trying to qualify for the Indianapolis 500.
Welcome to life as an IndyCar driver-owner.
“Getting money is the hardest thing in the world,” Fisher said Wednesday when rain washed out all but 45 minutes of Indianapolis 500 practice. “You don’t want to upset the sponsors.”
Except, perhaps, when they upset you. Or your husband.
Fans who voted Fisher as the Indy Racing League’s most popular driver three times are now waging a grass roots campaign to help her cash-strapped team get back in the black.
They began donating money to Fisher last weekend, and a local sports radio station started a telethon to help raise more money for Fisher’s team. Meanwhile, the phone numbers for the former sponsors are listed on the station’s web site, and have created a cacophony of phone calls from angry Fisher supporters, including at least one from a local talk show on the station.
Messages were left by The Associated Press with both companies.
“I want them to know, I didn’t ask anybody to do it,” Fisher said. “They’re a little irritated and that’s OK. They irritated me.”
Why wouldn’t Fisher be upset?
The 27-year-old Ohio native and her husband, Andy O’Gara, risked their life savings to put Fisher’s No. 67 car in the May 25 race and are now looking at what could be an even shorter season than anticipated.
ResQ went so far as to send a representative to Fisher’s ribbon-cutting ceremony last month at the team’s new Indy headquarters, during the IRL’s two-day media tour.
And, of course, Fisher must still pay her team members.
But the effervescent Fisher is doing what she can to correct the problems.