IndyCar: Team co-owner Sarah Fisher to compete in this month’s Chili Bowl

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source: Getty Images
Sarah Fisher has not raced since the 2010 IndyCar finale at Homestead (above). But she’ll be competing later this month in the Chili Bowl Nationals midget car event. Photo: Getty Images.

For the first time since the 2010 Verizon IndyCar Series season finale, Sarah Fisher will be behind the wheel of a race car.

The IndyCar team owner, who recently merged her squad with Ed Carpenter’s to form CFH Racing, will be driving the No. 67RW midget sprint car later this month in the prestigious Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Hartman Oil, owned by Kansas businessman Wink Hartman (the ‘H’ in CFH), will be Fisher’s main sponsor. The program will be fielded by RW Motorsports.

Fisher has long been a fixture in IndyCar racing, both as a driver (83 starts from 1999-2010) and an owner. She holds several accolades including: Most Indianapolis 500 starts by a female driver (nine), first female driver to win a pole position for a major open-wheel event (Kentucky 2002; 221.390 mph), and first female team owner to win an IndyCar race (Kentucky 2011, with Carpenter as her driver).

But the Ohioan’s roots lie largely in the sprint car world. After racing quarter midgets and karts while growing up, she embarked on a successful sprint car career in her teenage years before making her IRL debut in 1999 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Now, after a successful test session last October, she’ll be making her debut in the biggest midget racing event of all. The Chili Bowl begins Jan. 12 with Fisher competing in qualifying on Jan. 15. Points received during qualifying will determine her starting position for the feature race day on Jan. 17.

“Competing in the Chili Bowl has always been a bucket list item for me and with the support of Wink, I am able to fulfill another dream,” Fisher said in a release. “By attending the event last year to cheer on my brother-in-law, Kyle O’Gara, I was able to experience the atmosphere and see how much fun it was. I wanted to be racing in it the next time I came back.”

“…I have raced on dirt in the World Of Outlaws and the All Star Circuit of Champions, but being in a midget on dirt is a new experience for me and I am very excited for the challenge!”

Houston Supercross by the numbers: Five riders begin to gap the field

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Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.

Houston Supercross numbers
Cooper Webb’s ability to close races makes him a Houston favorite. – Feld Motor Sports

Despite an accident in his heat in San Diego that sent him to the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ), Sexton recovered to score a top-five that weekend. His podium finish in Anaheim 1 and overall win last week in Anaheim 2 makes him one of the three riders with a perfect top-five record. He is joined by Cooper Webb, who finished second in the first two rounds and fourth last week, and Ken Roczen, whose consistency in the first three races contributed to him grabbing the top spot in this week’s NBC Supercross Power Rankings.

There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.

Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.

Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.

By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.

With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.

This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.

Jim Pomeroy won the first race in the Astrodome during the inaugural season of 1974 on a 250, which was the premiere class at the time. Houston was one of three races held that year along with events at Daytona International Speedway and the Los Angeles Coliseum. All three venues return in 2023 with the first SuperMotocross championship finale returning to the famed LA Coliseum in September.

Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.

Two privateers have started the season on a high note.

Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.

Michael Mosiman scored his first 250 win last year in San Diego. – Feld Motor Sports

The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.

Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.

In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.

The other 250 riders with 2022 wins this week are Mosiman, who earned his first Supercross win last year in San Diego, and Nate Thrasher, who became the fifth new class winner at Daytona.

Jeremy Martin will attempt to extend a record this week in Houston. His division leading SuperMotocross podiums number 65. He has 26 wins in the combined sessions, which ranks fourth all time.

Last Five Houston Winners

450s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Cooper Webb
2021, Race 2: Eli Tomac
2021, Race 1: Justin Barcia
2020, no race
2019, Cooper Webb
2018, Jason Anderson

250s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Colt Nichols
2021, Race 2: Jett Lawrence
2021, Race 1: Christian Craig
2020, no race
2019, Dylan Ferrandis
2018, Aaron Plessinger

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

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Haiden Deegan makes Supercross debut in Houston, Justin Cooper to 450s
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