By Scott Olson
Indianapolis Business Journal
Dec. 15, 2011
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Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing plans to build a $2.7 million headquarters in the heart of Speedway’s new Main Street to house her IndyCar series race team.
Fisher and team co-owner Wink Hartman, who came aboard in April to provide financial backing, announced Thursday that they hope to break ground on a two-story, 37,000-square-foot facility in February.
The shop could be completed in September and will be constructed just north of the Italian-based racing company Dallara, which builds chassis for the racing series.
Fisher’s new building will more than double the size of her current space on Rockville Road, which she leases. The larger digs will enable the team to bring in-house certain operations such as painting and carbon-fitting of car bodies that now is outsourced.
The additional work should expand the team’s work force from 17 to 25 by the end of the year, Fisher said.
She chose to be a part of Speedway’s redevelopment of its Main Street and locate near Indianapolis Motor Speedway to help attract more visitors.
“I really believe that NASCAR has done an incredible job making their sport a destination for their fans,”¯ she said. “Hearing what Speedway was doing on Main Street, with Dallara being there, I really liked the idea of making IndyCar a destination outside of the Indy 500.”¯
Plans for Fisher’s new building include a retail shop and interactive area for visitors.
Speedway officials broke ground in November 2009 on the first phase of a $500 million redevelopment project they hope will transform the small town into a year-round racing-themed destination. Initial work involved $6.7 million in road improvements to Main Street, laying the foundation for redevelopment.
The ambitious redevelopment includes more than 350 acres from Main Street to Holt Road and from 16th to 10th streets, just south of IMS.
In all, 2.5 million square feet of new development could be constructed, which could return a 10-year economic impact of up to $5.2 billion and more than 2,000 jobs, Speedway officials say.
“We thought all along that, as we revitalized Main Street and as we acquired sites along Main Street, we would be properly positioned to take advantage of developments like Sarah Fisher Racing,”¯ said Scott Harris, executive director of the Speedway Redevelopment Commission.
The town provided no financial incentives to Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing to lure the team to Speedway.
Hartman, who had sponsored Fisher’s team at various levels beginning in 2008, is financing the $2.7 million building.
The owner of Wichita, Kan.-based Hartman Oil Co. also owns a 5,800-seat arena in Wichita and two professional sports franchises—the Wichita Wild football team of the Indoor Football League and the Wichita Wings soccer team of the Major Indoor Soccer League.
He thinks his business experience will be integral to the team’s success next year.
“It gives me a chance to get the day-to-day business grind off of Sarah’s back,”¯ Hartman said, “so she can concentrate on winning on the ovals and road tracks.”¯
Ed Carpenter won his first open-wheel race in October at Kentucky Speedway driving for Fisher.
He’s since been replaced by Josef Newgarden, who competed in the Firestone Indy Lights series this year and won the points championship.
Fisher said the team will field one car next year but hopes to enter two in the Indianapolis 500.
Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing lost its primary sponsor, Dollar General, at the end of last season but is “very close”¯ to signing another, Fisher said.