Patrick claims fourth on the Laguna grid with Friday's fast time MONTEREY, Calif. - Ten of the 14 drivers on starting grid for Sunday's Toyota Atlantic Championship finale turned a faster time in Saturday qualifying than on Friday, however, at...
Patrick claims fourth on the Laguna grid with Friday's fast time
MONTEREY, Calif. - Ten of the 14 drivers on starting grid for Sunday's Toyota Atlantic Championship finale turned a faster time in Saturday qualifying than on Friday, however, at the front of the field three of the top-four drivers, including Rahal Letterman Racing's Danica Patrick, were happy to stand on their Friday accomplishments.
Patrick will start fourth holding the grid position due to her Friday fast lap of 101.757 mph in the Argent Mortgage Company Toyota/Swift. "At least it turned out to be a decent Saturday for the Argent team thanks to the success we had on Friday," said Patrick. "Starting fourth gives us an opportunity to race for a win, which is what this weekend is all about. Starting next to Andrew Ranger means we are in control of third in the championship and that is one thing we came here that I am determined to leave with [third place]."
Pole position went to points leader and 2002 series champion Jon Fogarty who reclaimed the pole from Friday's provisional pole winner Ryan Dalziel. Like Patrick, Dalziel and his Siera Siera teammate Ranger were unable to improve their qualifying times from the provisional session on Friday. Like Patrick they maintained their grid position at the front of the field. Fogarty reclaimed the championship point he lost to Dalziel on Friday and enters Sunday's season finale with a five point lead over his championship rival Dalziel.
Patrick will make her final Toyota Atlantic Championship start tomorrow. The rising open-wheel star has posted a series leading ten top-five results in 11 races this season and is currently third in the championship.
Patrick's Rahal Letterman Racing teammate Chris Festa did improve his time on Saturday, but so to did his on track rivals that he was fighting with for position. Festa will start ninth with a fast lap of 100.379 mph. He slipped a spot despite improving almost a full-mile per hour.
"We made some great changes to the car and we were faster than Friday," said Patrick who his spent the better part of the week fighting a viral infection. "The SpacePak/CareCentric car was simply a better race car today, but we still some improvements to make. I really wanted to finish this season on a strong note, but physically that hasn't been the case. I am feeling better so hopefully when I wake up tomorrow I will feel like myself and be ready to go racing."
Round 12 of the 2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship will be run Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm EST. The race can be seen via tape delay on SPEED on Sunday, September 26 at 2:00 pm EST.