Fisher's fan base growing

Indianapolis-All it takes to find out which driver the fans adore the most is a walk through Gasoline Alley. Some garages have no fans outside of them; some garages have fifty fans patiently waiting with Sharpie-in-hand for that ever-treasured autograph.

In most cases, fans gather around a garage that has it's door open, one where work is visibly being done, one where the driver sits perched on the bench in the back of the garage as he watches the team getting greasy under the car.

There are a few drivers who have a fan base that waits patiently outside closed doors, at all hours of the day. Those that do have such a following are obviously the fan favorites at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Sarah Fisher, 21-year-old driver from Indianapolis and the only female driver in this year's field, is just that type of driver.

After Fisher qualified for a spot in the third row on Pole Day, she eventually made her way back to her garage. She made her way back to the garage by running.

"I have to run where I want to go because people will stop me, it's difficult," Fisher said.

The young driver went on to say the hardest part of having a large fan base is when it gets time to get to work.

"It's disappointing to me because there are so many people who want a picture or an autograph and you just can't physically do it all and get the work done," she said.

Even though fulfilling the role of fan-favorite is tough on Fisher at times, she appreciates the following.

"It's good on the other hand to have that many people stand behind you 100 percent of the way. It's wonderful," Fisher said. "They do eventually pay the bills. I try to get out there as often as I can to sign autographs, take pictures or do whatever I can do."

Even though she is the one of the youngest in the field, she brings with her a rather full resum+â-¬.

Fisher began driving at the age of six competing in the world of quarter-midgets. It wasn't until the early '90's that Fisher began to taste success. Fisher won the World Karting Association Grand National Championship from 1991 to 1994. After several more years of competing at the lower level of sprint cars, Fisher eventually made her way to Indy in 2000 when she qualified for the 19th spot in that year's race.

"It's been a little tough. It's been a lot of work," Fisher said of her career thus far. "On one hand I missed a lot, like prom. On the other hand I've been doing what I love."

With her success at such a young age, Fisher has without a doubt become a role model on different levels, as a driver as well as a female driver.

"I didn't used to see myself as a role model, but now that I'm seeing a lot of fans and younger kids coming up to me," Fisher said, "I have to be careful about what I do. I just have to be myself and be a good person."

As far as being the only female driver, it's a factor that Fisher has more than gotten used to throughout her years of racing.

"I don't really look at it that way," she said. "I never have and I probably never will. I have grown up around men and I'm in the racing world.

"I can't think of it as being a woman, I have to think about being in the sport as a talented driver," Fisher said.


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