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Pagenaud and Newgarden seal 2012 deals

Meanwhile, Sarah Fisher was celebrating the signing of the 2011 Firestone Indy Lights champion, 20-year-old Josef Newgarden as her team's driver for next season.

The team bid farewell to former driver Ed Carpenter on a definite high, after he handed them their first IndyCar Series race win with victory at Kentucky. But with Carpenter setting up his own team, and longtime sponsor Dollar General announcing it was leaving the sport, it looked like 2012 might be a tough year for Sarah Fisher's team.

Now, thanks to Kansas businessman Wink Hartman stepping up as primary sponsor for the #67 car in the new season, the team has been able to sign up Josef Newgarden for a full season - and they will also be rechristened Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing in 2012 as a result of their new sponsor's involvement.

"I'm very excited to welcome Wink as a partner to SFHR," said Fisher, who explained that the businessman had been a personal mentor and one of the team's backers since 2008. In fact, the selection of their new driver was thanks to a suggestion from Hartman.

"Wink brought the idea of Josef to our attention and after watching him mid-season forward, we knew he would be a perfect fit," said Fisher. "Josef has a great brand and is a true champion. We very much look forward to working with him both on and off track."

Newgarden took five wins - including the Firestone Freedom 100 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - and a further four second places for Sam Schmidt Motorsports as he romped to a dominating title ahead of Esteban Guerrieri and Stefan Wilson (Justin's brother) in IndyCar's main feeder series. Newgarden had previously completed a full season of GP3 with Carlin in 2010.

"I'm really looking forward to working with everyone throughout the year. I'm sure we're going to have great chemistry, and I'm excited to get 2012 rolling," said the 20-year-old Tennessee driver. "I have all the faith in the world in the Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing group.

"I think I will have all the tools to the job for them, and it's going to be collaboration. It's not going to come from one guy. It's going to take everyone coming together to make it work," he insisted. "I think we already have that and that's important when you come to a new group. We've got a great chance for success."

The SFHR team is yet to announce their engine partner for 2012.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
The new logo of the rechristened Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing team. [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Simon Pagenaud shows off his new team affiliation with Sam Schmidt Motorsports. [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Sam Schmidt, speaking at the announcement that his team had signed Simon Pagenaud as their driver for 2012. [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Sarah Fisher with her new main sponsor Wink Hartman, and 2012 driver Josef Newgarden. [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Simon Pagenaud with his new team boss, Sam Schmidt. [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
New Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing driver, 2011 Firestone Indy Lights champion Josef Newgarden. [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Simon Pagenaud speaking at the announcement of his deal with Sam Schmidt Motorsports for a 2012 race seat. [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
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