[Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing press release]
INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Feb. 24, 2012 – Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing and rookie sensation Josef Newgarden will compete in the entire 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season with Honda power.
SFHR and Newgarden will be on the grid for the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 25 with the No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, as the team’s engine program with Honda came to fruition for all 16 races in 2012.
“Everyone at SFHR is ecstatic about competing in the entire 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season with Josef behind the wheel and with Honda engines,” team co-owner Sarah Fisher said. “We couldn’t have done it without the support of our loyal fans, who mobilized on our behalf through email, social media, texting and phone calls. Their voices were heard. We had been in discussions with Honda since last season, and I’m delighted that it finally came together. My heart has been in IndyCar for several years, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to enter a season as a full-time owner. Honda saw an opportunity and has given our team a chance to be on the grid in St. Petersburg. I’m really proud of the hard work by so many to pull this package together.
“I’d also like to give special thanks to Indy 500 winner and IZOD IndyCar Series team owner Bobby Rahal for helping us initiate our 2012 partnership with Honda. Bobby once again personified the definition of a gentleman and sportsman, remembering how we helped his son Graham. This is a wonderful example of paying it forward.”
“SFHR is excited to continue its relationship with Honda into the 2012 season,” Hartman said. “We are thankful for the great relationship with Honda and express much gratitude for their support of our team and the faith they have in our ability. To be a part of the Honda family is an honor we won’t take lightly.”
Fisher stepped from the cockpit of her team’s car for four IZOD IndyCar Series races in early 2010 so Graham Rahal would have a drive. That helped Rahal stay on a career arc that would land him a seat with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2011 and would eventually make the introduction to his current sponsor, Service Central.
Rising American star Newgarden will drive the No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone at the IZOD IndyCar Series Open Test March 8-9 at Sebring, Fla., with other private tests also scheduled before the season opener. Newgarden, 21, advanced to the pinnacle of North American open-wheel racing with SFHR after winning the 2011 Firestone Indy Lights championship. He will compete for IZOD IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year honors in 2012.
“I’m thrilled to get the chance to race the entire season,” Newgarden said. “This is a dream come true, thanks to Honda and the unwavering support of Sarah’s fans. I can’t wait for St. Petersburg.”
The partnership with Honda is another big step forward for SFHR, which was formed in 2008 as Sarah Fisher Racing and earned its first IZOD IndyCar Series victory in 2011 at Kentucky Speedway. The Indianapolis-based team announced last December a partnership with businessman Wink Hartman, the hiring of Newgarden as its IZOD IndyCar Series driver and plans to build a new race shop and offices in Speedway, Ind., in the shadows of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“When Bobby kindly offered to forego his second full season lease in order to ensure that Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing could be on the grid from the start of the season, we were happy to be able to help facilitate the matter,” said Steve Eriksen, Vice President of Honda Performance Development. “We’re pleased to be able to continue our relationship with Sarah Fisher and her new team and look forward to a successful rookie year from Josef following on the heels of his 2011 Indy Lights championship.”
“Sarah Fisher is a class act and so is everyone at Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing,” said Rahal. “The team did great things for Graham when he didn’t have a program, and I am happy we were in a position to help her. We are disappointed that we couldn’t put our second program together in time for the start of the season and hope to have that resolved by the Indianapolis 500. Either way, like the many fans of the team, we are happy that SFHR and Josef Newgarden will compete for a full season in 2012.”