Sarah Fisher looking ahead to two-car program at Sonoma

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According to former driver and current IZOD IndyCar Series team owner Sarah Fisher, she has wanted to expand her Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing outfit to two cars “from day one.”

She’s hopeful that the next race on the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule at Sonoma Raceway (Aug. 25) will help her figure out how to make it happen.

For the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, SFHR will field a second car for the American Le Mans Series’ all-time wins leader, Lucas Luhr, alongside their full-time regular, Josef Newgarden (pictured).

Luhr’s program for Sonoma is a collaboration between the team and partner RW Motorsports, as well as Muscle Milk, which backs Luhr in the ALMS.

“For us, [Sonoma] is one more of those weekends to explore what is it going to take – what do we need when we align it and make it happen,” Fisher said Saturday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where the IndyCars are preparing for tomorrow’s Honda Indy 200 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

“It’s really an exploratory venture for us as well as satisfying what we need to do for [RW owner] Steve Weirich and RW Motorsports. Certainly, having two cars is very valuable, especially with the changing metrics, changing tires, changing things that are ever-evolving in our sport.”

Luhr’s car owner in the ALMS, Greg Pickett, will also be part of SFHR’s group at Sonoma. Pickett has assembled one of the top teams in sports car racing but may be looking at a potential jump to the open-wheel ranks as ALMS and GRAND-AM prepare to merge at season’s end.

Fisher said on Saturday that she admires Pickett and his team’s accomplishments, and that SFHR is excited to have him see what IndyCar has to offer.

“For me, it’s having him on board supporting it, more from a sponsorship standpoint – the ability to give him a headset and see what IndyCar is all about, rather than coming as a race fan,” she said. “He has an interest in what IndyCar does, what the [IZOD] IndyCar Series is overall and who knows where it will go. It’s exploratory on that end as well.

“We’re just really happy to see more and more partners and more and more people have an interest in our sport. We feel a responsibility to expand the [IZOD] IndyCar Series as owners.”

Watch tomorrow’s Honda Indy 200 from Mid-Ohio online and on your mobile device.

Andretti Autosport picks James Hinchcliffe for last 3 races of season

Andretti Autosport James Hinchcliffe
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James Hinchcliffe will finish the NTT IndyCar Series season for Andretti Autosport, replacing Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda.

The team made the announcement Friday afternoon that Hinchcliffe will return after racing for Andretti at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Indianapolis 500.

Hinchcliffe, who also has worked as an IndyCar on NBC analyst and pit reporter, will race in the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season, but we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021,” team owner Michael Andretti said in a release. “James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Hinchcliffe has a season-best finish of seventh in the Indy 500. He had been working on trying to put together a deal for next season after scrambling to secure a partial schedule this year when he lost his ride at Arrow McLaren SP after 2020 with a year left on his deal.

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“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as class act as you can,” Hinchcliffe said. “I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be.

“For me now, my focus is 100% on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS! Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”