Mid-Ohio: Team Rahal/Patrick preview

Team Rahal's Patrick brings momentum to Mid-Ohio HILLIARD, OH . . . Some of the most important laps Danica Patrick has turned this season may not have been in a Toyota Atlantic Championship series race, they may have been at a test at...

Team Rahal's Patrick brings momentum to Mid-Ohio

HILLIARD, OH . . .

Some of the most important laps Danica Patrick has turned this season may not have been in a Toyota Atlantic Championship series race, they may have been at a test at Blackhawk Farms last week in suburban Chicago.  Patrick and her Argent Mortgage Company team spent a day on track at Blackhawk and made some significant strides in understanding the car.  Those strides paid off in a season best start of fourth at Trois-Rivieres and her third top-five result of the season.
"This was a test that really opened the door for us," said Patrick.  "We have a greater understanding of the car and that showed last weekend.  The key for us is to keep building on what we have accomplished and take this to the next level."
In her first year in the competitive Toyota Atlantic Championship, Patrick is seventh in points after eight races, just a single point behind Joey Hand in sixth.  Patrick has posted three top-five results including a third place finish in the season opener at Monterrey, Mexico.  She has six top-ten results all while getting accustomed to a new series and her first year Team Rahal Atlantic program.
"We have a lot of experience on this team, but it is still the first year most of these people have worked together and it takes time for everyone to come together," said Patrick. "Every time we run we are making progress as a group.  That is all you can ask for as a rookie in this series.  I said at the start of the year I wanted to see improvement and I know we are making strides."
This week Patrick comes to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for Round 9 of the 2003 Championship.  Mid-Ohio is the home track for Team Rahal and this year will mark the first time that the Team Rahal Atlantic program has raced on the circuit.  "We had a test day at Mid-Ohio in July but we really didn't get everything accomplished that we wanted because of some mechanical problems," said Patrick. "Still this team has a wealth of information about this track and what it takes to be successful.  Bobby [Rahal] himself is a valuable resource to me in preparing to run at this track.
Patrick ran five races last season in the Barber Dodge Pro Series for Team Rahal and she raced at Mid-Ohio starting 12th  and finishing 11th.

PATRICK MAKING SERIES HISTORY

Danica Patrick's third place result at Monterrey, Mexico was the first time in the 30-year history of the Toyota Atlantic Championship that a female had finished on the podium. Coupled with the fact that Patrick is the first female to run a full season program, and she is writing Atlantic series history each time she drives the #24 Argent Mortgage/Toyota/Swift.

EXTRA TEST DAY AT MID-OHIO FOR ATLANTICS

Thursday has been declared a promoter test day which will give the Toyota Atlantic Championship series three short test sessions on the Mid-Ohio track. "Any extra seat time you can get is valuable," said Patrick. "For us it is a real bonus since our test wasn't flawless. The track conditions will start to change once the Champ Cars begin running, but it will help all of us get acclimated for the weekend."

TEAM RAHAL LOOKING FOR FIRST MID-OHIO WIN

Founded in 1992 as Rahal/Hogan Racing, Team Rahal is still searching for its first win on its home track of Mid-Ohio. The team's best result belongs to Rahal himself, as he twice finished third (1997 & 1998). Since Rahal claimed his last podium result of his legendary career at Mid-Ohio in '98, the team's best finish was a fourth by Max Papis in 2000. This marks the first time Team Rahal's Atlantic program has raced at Mid-Ohio.

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Max Papis , Joey Hand , Danica Patrick