Patrick Fourth on First Day at Laguna Seca MONTEREY, Calif. - Rahal Letterman Racing's Danica Patrick claimed fourth on the provisional grid in the ...
Patrick Fourth on First Day at Laguna Seca
MONTEREY, Calif. - Rahal Letterman Racing's Danica Patrick claimed fourth on the provisional grid in the #24 Argent Mortgage Toyota/Swift at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in qualifying for the final round of the 2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship. Patrick making her final start of her Toyota Atlantic career posted a fast lap of 101.757 mph. That left the competitive Patrick fourth on the grid right behind championship rivals Ryan Dalziel and Jon Fogarty and rookie standout Andrew Ranger.
"That has pretty much been the story of our season," said Patrick, who has chased Fogarty and Dalziel in the championship standings since she led following Round 4. "We have spent the season chasing Dalziel and Fogarty and because we haven't beat them on the track they are running for the championship this weekend and we are running to hold onto third. Once again we have a pretty good start to a race weekend. We can make a run at the pole position and at winning this race, but we have to overcome the little mistakes that have tripped us up so many times on Saturday this season."
Patrick's biggest rival for third overall in the championship is Ranger who enters the weekend 22 points behind the Argent Mortgage driver. For Ranger to overtake Patrick, Ranger would have to sweep the remaining 34 championship points this weekend while Patrick can finish no higher than tenth in Sunday's race. Patrick has not failed to finish in the top-seven all season and leads the loop in top-five results have posted ten top-five results in eleven races.
Rahal Letterman Racing's other Toyota Atlantic driver Chris Festa is fighting a viral infection and ran at less than 100% on Friday. Festa finished ninth in qualifying with a fast lap of 99.750 mph.
"This isn't the way I wanted to start the race weekend on what I consider the most technical and demanding track we race on," said Festa. "I have been fighting this sickness all week and I really didn't feel like I was at my best today. We made some improvements with the car and we were headed in the right direction, but we still have a ways to go."
Provisional pole sitter Ryan Dalziel gained a valuable championship point on series leader Jon Fogarty heading into final qualifying on Saturday. Dalziel trails Fogarty by five points heading into the race weekend.
Practice and qualifying for final round of the 2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship will resume on Saturday morning with final qualifying tomorrow afternoon. Round 12 of the 2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship will be run Sunday morning at 1:30 pm EST. The race can be seen via tape delay on SPEED on Sunday, September 26 at 2:00 pm EST.