Dec. 15, 2011, was an especially busy day for Sarah Fisher and Willis "Wink" Hartman. They held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing facility and unwrapped their new Dallara chassis a few miles away at their current home base. A year later finds the team principals exceptionally busy and continuing to build for the future.
Fisher, who founded the team in 2008, expects furniture to roll into the 37,000-square-foot facility on Main Street in Speedway, Ind., next to Dallara Automobili's U.S. home by May 2013.
"To have a facility that's more than twice the size of the one we're in now allows us so many more capabilities that we're looking forward to in the long term," Fisher said at Sebring this week, where Josef Newgarden was rolling along in the No. 67 Honda-powered car in another step of preparation for his sophomore season.
"There's a lot of things that we've done in 2012 that maybe sparked our interest or we saw an area of development that we wanted to explore further but didn't have time," said Fisher, "but only having an hour and a half of practice at each venue and with our budget not having as many test days as we would have liked things stacked up through the season."
Newgarden, the 2011 Firestone Indy Lights champion, had a best finish of 11th in the season opener at St. Petersburg and a high qualifying position of fourth in the season finale at Auto Club Speedway.
"I'm excited that he gets to go back to places," Fisher added. "At St. Pete last year was his very first pit stop. Some of the things that he's learned through this last season and have the whole off-season to digest it, I think he's going to be a whole lot stronger than he was this year."