Sarah Fisher may have hung up her fire suit in professional Verizon IndyCar Series competition, but the standout racer has moved into the team ownership phase of her career, branching out to bring Sarah Fisher Hartman (SFH) Racing Development to the fore in grassroots open wheel racing.
SFH Racing Development was started by Sarah Fisher and her husband, Andy O’Gara, in partnership with Wink Hartman and Hartman Oil. Their intent is to find young racing talent and nurture them through multiple series toward a career in professional racing.
To groom upcoming drivers, SFH Racing Development this week travels to the vaunted Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals presented by General Tire with a three-car lineup, vying for the coveted Golden Driller trophy at Tulsa, Oklahoma. The team sports returning veterans Kyle O’Gara and Tyler Seavey, together with newcomer Ryan Smith in the lineup.
2018’s Chili Bowl race marks the sixth straight entry for SFH Racing Development. It won’t be an easy battle for this trio, despite their individual successes, as this 32nd annual Chili Bowl boasts more than 350 entries, including 56 rookies, 64 drivers that have already started the race’s A Main and seven past champions from 39 states and five countries.
SFH Racing Development’s three drivers all have great expectations for this six-day affair. Team newcomer Smith, from Kunkletown, Penn. is new to this team but 2018 is his fifth Chili Bowl appearance. He finished 13th in his first of two final B Mains in 2017; he’ll be in the No. 69F sponsored by Harding Group. Associate support comes from Direct Supply and the 1911 Grill in Speedway, Ind.
Last year Smith earned the 2017 Arctic Cat All-Star runner-up position in his full season of 410 Winged Sprints competition. He flies directly to Tulsa after spending the past three weeks in Australia as part of the USA vs Western Australia Speedwells. Ryan Smith earned a win at Bunbury Speedway on December 30.
Seavey will drive the No. 68F sponsored by Hartman Oil; the second-year SFH Racing Development driver spent last season driving any open wheel car he could find, including sprint cars, midgets and outlaw karts. He took many wins, including victories at Cycleland Speedway and Red Bluff Outlaws.
“I’m excited to be back with SFH Racing Development again this year,” Seavy said. “We’re looking to build on last year and the team has put in a tremendous amount of work to get ready. California native Seavey sports the colors of Direct Supply, Jimmy’s Egg, Speedway Customs, 1911 Grill, Full Throttle Arms, Indy Trading Post and Business Art Designs.
The team’s six-year SFH Racing Developments Chili Bowl veteran, Kyle O’Gara takes the wheel of the No. 67F sponsored by Speedway Indoor Karting. His associate partners are 1911 Grill, Full Throttle Arms, Direct Supply and Indy Trading Post. O’Gara brings a hot hand to the Chili Bowl this year, having earned a second-place result in The Rumble in Fort Wayne in late December; he spent last summer racing dirt midgets around the Midwest. He also entered INDYCAR’s Freedom 100 Indy Lights race in 2013 and raced in the series’ finale at Fontana, Calif.
“I’m ready to get back to the Chili Bowl this year and put to use some of the things we’ve learned last season,” O’Gara remarked. “I’m very confident in the cars the team has prepared and the talent we have on the team. All of our sponsors, including Speedway Indoor Karting, have given us the keys to be successful this week and it is up to us to make it happen.”
Practice for this 32nd annual Chili Bowl begins Monday, Jan. 8 at the Tulsa Expo Raceway inside the River Spirit Expo Center. There are four preliminary events before the Jan. 13 finale, with the top 24 drivers from the week-long Midget orgy competing for the Golden Driller. Starting positions in the A Feature are deterred by points received during qualifications.
Seavey is scheduled to qualify on Tuesday during Warren Cat qualifying night. Smith qualifies during the Hard Rock Casino night on Wednesday and O’Gara will make his attempts during John Christner Trucking qualifying night on Thursday.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Chili Bowl is streaming through a pay-per-view broadcast online, put together by www.racinboys.com. Final features are televised on the MAVTV American Real network. Updates can be found at www.chilibowl.com.