Senior staff writer
The husband-and-wife team of Andy O’Gara and Sarah Fisher are expanding their motor sports-related business with plans for a karting facility and a restaurant/bar on Main Street in Speedway.
Speedway Indoor Karting and the 1911 Grill (1911 represents the year of the first Indianapolis 500) will be located a few blocks from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing, an outgrowth of Sarah Fisher Racing, which was founded in 2008 by Fisher and O’Gara’s father, John. John O’Gara and his wife, Jeannie, own O’Gara’s Pub on Main Street in Beech Grove. Fisher’s grandparents owned a kart track in Richwood, Ohio.
The 1911 Grill will feature family dining plus multiple bars and entertainment areas. The restaurant and track will be structured for corporate and hospitality events.
Plans call for different ability levels, including a competitive league for junior karters. The grand opening will be in April 2016 in time to celebrate the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.
On hand for the announcement of the endeavor were Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, Speedway Redevelopment Commission President Vince Noblet and Town Council President David Lindsey.
“I congratulate Sarah and Andy for their vision and tenacity to translate a personal passion for auto racing into a successful business venture,” said Ellspermann.
Fisher and O’Gara, who reside in Franklin Township with their two children, said they expect to have 35 to 40 employees.
New cars on track
CFHR had two new Dallara Chevrolet IndyCars at the Speedway for tests Sunday in preparation for the 99th Indianapolis 500.
Driver-owner Ed Carpenter was among the top 10 on the speed chart with a lap of 225.257 mph. Josef Newgarden, who is in his fourth season with Fisher, went 223.834 mph, 17th fastest among 28 cars on the track.
CFHR returns to the track for road course practice Thursday and qualifications Friday for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis at 3:50 p.m. Saturday.
Practice resumes at 3 p.m. Monday for the Indy 500.
Two more teams with Southside connections were on the track Sunday.
The No. 24 Dallara Chevrolet entered by co-team owner Dennis Reinbold, a Greenwood auto dealership owner, was driven on 19 shakedown laps by veteran Davey Hamilton. Reinbold’s assigned driver, Townsend Bell, was competing in a road course race.
The Byrd family of Greenwood is back at the Speedway. Jennie, Jonathan II and David Byrd are continuing the legacy of the late Jonathan Byrd. Driver Bryan Clauson was on the track for a few laps in the No. 88 Dallara Chevrolet with a speed of 218.485 mph.
Fast laps by drivers utilizing new aero packages were recorded by Juan Pablo Montoya, 226.772 mph, with Chevrolet power and Marco Andretti, 226.268 mph, with Honda power.
Skillmans top in class
The Skillman drag racing clan was the fastest in the Super Stock classes in their 2012 Ford Mustangs during the three-day NHRA North Central/Ray Skillman Auto Group Spectacle of Speed at Lucas Oil Raceway.
Ray Skillman topped FSS/B class with a run of 8.108 seconds; Bill Skillman took FSS/D class with an elapsed time of 8.886 seconds; and Drew Skillman won FSS/D class in 8.906 seconds.
Ray Skillman was the fourth-fastest qualifier in Competition Eliminator with a run of 8.284 seconds in a 2006 Ford Cobalt. He reached the second round before being eliminated by No. 10 qualifier and eventual champion Todd Franz.
Ryan Dillman of the Southside captured the Super Street eliminator title with a run of 10.921 seconds (128.47 mph) against Tennessean Blake Richardson.
(Note: Grand Solutions Communications contributed to this article.)