Kelley Racing has confirmed its second Indianapolis 500 entry will be driven by Sarah Fisher after revealing that Bryant Heating and Cooling Systems had signed up as primary sponsor.

There is a sense of about the deal as, 28 years ago, another lady race - Janet Guthrie - was given the opportunity to become the first woman to drive at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway thanks to backing from Bryant Heating & Cooling. Now, Fisher has been given the chance to step off the sidelines as Bryant once again confirms its backing for an Indy 500 entry.

Bryant has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with Kelley Racing, and will be returning for its sixth year of sponsorship with the team - and the 39th year of involvement at the Indianapolis 500. Bryant is the longest running non-automotive sponsor in the Indianapolis 500 field, with Bryant Heating and Cooling Systems beginning its involvement in 1958, when it sponsored Eddie Johnson's entry.

"Over the years, drivers such as Eddie Sachs, Rodger Ward, Scott Brayton and Arie Luyendyk have proudly carried Bryant's colours at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway," said brand manager John Gibbons, "This year, the Bryant tradition continues with Kelley Racing and Sarah Fisher."

Team co-owner Tom Kelley said that he was pleased to be able to finally confirm the addition of a second car for the Indianapolis 500 effort.

"Bryant has been an excellent partner to Kelley Racing over the past six seasons and we're thrilled that they have stepped up to provide sponsorship for Sarah at Indianapolis, " he said, "A second car can provide valuable engineering information and it is certainly helpful at the Speedway, where there is such a vast amount of data for the team to process.

"Sarah has been competitive in her five seasons of open-wheel racing and our hope is that, with the support of Bryant Heating and Cooling Systems, she will have a very successful run at Indy in 2004"

Fisher, who will be piloting a Dallara-Toyota throughout the month of May, posted the fastest one and four-lap qualifying speeds by a woman in Indianapolis 500 history in 2002.

"This year, I am more prepared than ever for the 500," she insisted, "I am as fit as I have ever been and I am feeling great about the month ahead. Kelley Racing is just like Kelley Automotive in Fort Wayne - professional and first-class."

Fisher has a best qualifying effort of ninth at the Speedway and a best finish of 24th - both in 2002 - and will be making her fifth attempt at the race this season.

Kelley team manager Paul Harcus will oversee the #39 Bryant/CAN entry as well as the #8 Delphi car for Scott Sharp. Mark Weida has been selected to engineer the #39 and will be joined by Jim Reid as chief mechanic. Additional crew members on Fisher's car will be Brad Brewer, Brian Hornick, Jason Lucas, Tony Mizialko and Luke Wethington.

 

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