- The Washington Times - Monday, May 26, 2008

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Perhaps no one in the IRL had a worse May — or a worse race day — than Sarah Fisher.

First, her initial sponsors backed out of their deals after Fisher and her husband poured their life savings into her new race team. Then, armed with a new set of sponsors for yesterday’s Indianapolis 500, Fisher endured a whole new set of problems, culminating with her No. 67 car being taken out in a crash on lap 106.

Like the rest of the month, it wasn’t even her fault.

“I’ve been known my whole career to be able to get out of incidents like that,” Fisher said, crying. “That’s the crazy thing about this sport. This is going to set us back a little bit. I think I’ve experienced every emotion there is to it.”

Fisher crashed three times in her first four career starts at Indy, but this race day might have been the worst of all.

When the traditional command for drivers to start their engines was given, Fisher sat on the starting grid waiting for her crew to fire the engine as the other 32 cars pulled away.

Once she got started, Fisher used the pace laps to get back into her No. 22 starting position.

But just 13 laps into the race, Fisher spun entering the third turn. Fortunately, she didn’t hit the wall, and after the crew checked the car and got it restarted, Fisher made it back onto the track.

Finally, when race leader Tony Kanaan hit the wall in turn three, he slid across the track right in front of Fisher and sent her sliding into the inside wall.

Rookie parade

Eleven rookies started yesterday’s race. Only six finished it.

That’s not surprising given what normally happens with first-timers on the historic 2½-mile oval.

Graham Rahal, at 19 the youngest driver to win an IndyCar race, was the first one out when he tried to pass a slowing Alex Lloyd in the fourth turn. Rahal went high, ended up too high and slammed into the wall.

Also included among the mangled at day’s end were rookies Justin Wilson, Jaime Camara and Alex Lloyd.

The top rookie finisher was Ryan Hunter-Reay, who started 20th and finished sixth. The improvement was the second-biggest of the day, matching that of two other rookies — Spain’s Oriol Servia and Brazil’s Enrique Bernoldi. Servia went from 25th to 11th, while Bernoldi went from 29th to 15th.

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