IndyCar Series driver Sarah Fisher received unique inspiration for her upcoming "Meijer Indy 300 Presented by Red Baron and Edy's" start at Kentucky Speedway today when she met the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens' eight-year-old cheetah Sarah, which will run for a world speed record at the Sparta, Ky., motorsports venue on September 9.

Fisher, who set the standing IndyCar Series Kentucky Speedway qualifying record with a quick 221.390-mph (24.0661 seconds) lap on August 11, 2002, expressed hope that her namesake will emerge from the "Run for the Record" as the fastest land mammal. The record will be established by the South African cheetah Zaza on August 15.

"It's fantastic to have a track record at Kentucky Speedway and to know that yet another Sarah plans to hold a track record all her own. It's an honor to be part of this because I'm definitely an animal lover. I might be a little intimidated, but I love it," Fisher said.

The Commercial Point, Ohio driver will make her fourth consecutive and eighth career IndyCar Series start at Kentucky Speedway on August 1 looking to build on a solid track record that includes one top-five and two top-10 finishes.

She placed 15th in the 2008 series event and is averaging a 14th-place finish in her past three Kentucky starts. She earned her track-best third-place finish on August 27, 2000 and placed eighth on August 11, 2002 after becoming the first female to start a North American open-wheel race from the pole position.

"My record here certainly plays a part in entering this race. I like this track, love the facility and people, but it's also more or less my home track because it's so close to my family. We had a very competitive car last year and if we had not gotten down at the beginning, we could have definitely finished in the top 10. Luck would have it that our suspension broke on the final lap going into Turn 1 and we had to coast to the finish, which dropped us four positions," Fisher said.

The second-year Sarah Fisher Racing owner will make the fourth of a scheduled six 2009 starts in the "Meijer Indy 300 Presented by Red Baron and Edy's." She took her season-best 13th-place finish at Kansas Speedway on April 26 before posting back-to-back 17th-place finishes in the Indianapolis 500 and at Texas Motor Speedway June 6.

The 28-year-old, along with her husband Andy O'Gara, continues to make strides in meeting the challenges of balancing team ownership with her role as a driver.

"Time management is one of the biggest challenges. It's just a balance of the most important thing you have to get done in a day and taking that hour, hour and a half, to work out to keep yourself in shape because that will mentally prepare you for all the rest of the stuff.

"Whether it's business stuff that you have to handle or a personal appearance a driver would normally do, I do all those things. We're so short-staffed, everybody has to be all hands on deck and that includes me," she said.

Kentucky Speedway plays host to its fourth and final 2009 race weekend featuring IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights action July 31-Aug. 1. Both series open the weekend with Friday practice sessions and qualifying before staging a Saturday doubleheader featuring the "Meijer Indy 300 Presented by Red Baron and Edy's" and Firestone Indy Lights "Kentucky Indy Lights 100" along with modern rock group Carolina Liar in concert.

Weekend tickets, new infield camping and more Big Deals can be reserved by visiting the tickets pages of this Web site, by phone at 888-652-RACE (7223) or through the Kentucky Speedway ticket offices at 400 Buttermilk Pike, Suite 100, in Ft. Mitchell, Ky., or the Sparta, Ky., Fan Center off of Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35 North. Fans also can reserve tickets at Meijer stores and outlets.

Story by Mike Schmaltz

~Kentucky Speedway ~