Cleveland: Team Rahal track talk

Team Rahal Atlantic Track Talk: Cleveland Patrick marks one year with Team Rahal with race at Cleveland HILLIARD, OH . . . When Team Rahal's Argent Mortgage Company Toyota Atlantic driver Danica Patrick takes to the track this Thursday in ...

Team Rahal Atlantic Track Talk: Cleveland

Patrick marks one year with Team Rahal with race at Cleveland

HILLIARD, OH . . . When Team Rahal's Argent Mortgage Company Toyota Atlantic driver Danica Patrick takes to the track this Thursday in Cleveland, she will mark the one year anniversary of her debut with Team Rahal.

Patrick, a rising start in US open-wheel racing, made her debut in a Team Rahal car in the Barber Dodge Pro Series last July at the Molson Indy Toronto. In the past year with Team Rahal the 21-year-old native of Roscoe, Illinois has endured the ups and downs of the Champ Car World Series Developmental ladder.

After posting a seventh place result in her first two-outings last year (Toronto and Cleveland) Patrick posted a season best fourth at Vancouver. This year she opened the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship by becoming the first female to finish on the podium in the 30-year-history of the Atlantic Series. Strong runs at Milwaukee (6th in her first oval race) and Portland (6th) have pushed Patrick to seventh in the series points standings a mere 13 points from the top-five.

"The last year has been a bit of whirlwind for me both personally and professionally," said Patrick. "I have learned so much from Bobby and the rest of the people at Team Rahal that I feel I have made great strides in my career both on and off the track. There is still so much to learn and I try to take a lesson every day from the track and apply it to become a better driver."

"I am very pleased with the progress that Danica is making after the first year of our program," said three-time CART champion Bobby Rahal. "I told her when she signed with us last year that this was a long-term commitment from the team to her and that we would grow together. Quite frankly I thought there would be more growing pains, but she has progressed faster than I expected. The bottom line is she is fast, and I think with the right environment around her she can take that next step and become a champion at the highest levels of this sport."

Patrick knows the opportunity she has been presented by Rahal is one that can provide the foundation for a long and successful open-wheel racing career. "I know the opportunity to work with a championship caliber team like Team Rahal is an incredible opportunity for a young driver," said Patrick. "What is even more incredible is the opportunity to work with a champion like Bobby. He has a plan in mind that will advance my career at the right time. As a driver I want to get to the next level and I want to drive a Champ Car or what ever is next in my future, but if Bobby thinks I need more time in Atlantics, so be it. There are a lot of drivers in this sport who have been rushed to the next level before they were truly ready. I want to go to the next level because I am ready as a driver. I know I will have arrived as a driver the day people stop referring to me as a female driver and start talking about me as a racecar driver."

This week Patrick returns to Cleveland where she finished seventh a year ago in the Barber Dodge Pro Series. This will mark the first time she will race on a track in Toyota Atlantics that she raced on in Barber Dodge.

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.

PATRICK TAKES FOURTH IN ALMS DEBUT

Patrick made her debut in the American Le Mans Series this past weekend driving for the British Prodrive team, which fielded a pair of Ferrari 550 Maranellos in the GTS class, in the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta. Patrick teamed with Frenchman Jerôme Policand to pilot the Prodrive Ferrari's to finish fourth in the GTS class and tenth overall.

TEAM RAHAL STILL LOOKING FOR FIRST CLEVELAND WIN

Team Rahal was founded in 1992 as Rahal/Hogan Racing and in the team's eleven previous trips to Burke Lakefront Airport, the team has never won the Cleveland Grand Prix. Ironically for the Ohio based team, Bobby Rahal did win the event as a driver prior to founding Team Rahal. Rahal won the first ever Cleveland Grand Prix in 1982 when the race was 500 kilometers. The best finish for a Team Rahal driver was Kenny Brack's second place finish in 2000.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Bobby Rahal , Kenny Brack , Jérome Policand , Danica Patrick