Portland: Team Rahal preview

Patrick looking for success at Portland to move up in the Atlantic championship. HILLIARD, OH . . . One of the hardest things a young driver must face is frustration after a race ends prematurely. Such is the case with Team Rahal's Danica...

Patrick looking for success at Portland to move up in the Atlantic championship.

HILLIARD, OH . . . One of the hardest things a young driver must face is frustration after a race ends prematurely. Such is the case with Team Rahal's Danica Patrick this week after she saw her efforts at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca go for naught. Patrick was involved in a first lap scrum which ended her day after just six turns. For the fiercely competitive Patrick, her thoughts turned to the next event and how to recover from the lost points in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship.

"There wasn't much I could do to avoid the contact on the first lap," said Patrick. "I guess I could have qualified better which would have kept me out of the position that ended the day. Fortunately we are headed to Portland. We tested at PIR in April and it went very well. I feel really good about the set-up we have for Portland, and if we can take the success we had at the test in April and build on it, I think we will have a strong weekend."

"Sometimes the hardest thing for a young driver to adjust to in this sport is the emotional ups and downs," said Bobby Rahal. "One of the things that brought Danica to my attention is just how tough and competitive she is. When she took the opportunity to go to England as a 16-year-old to race that showed me a lot about her determination and desire to succeed. I know a lot of drivers who are older who aren't willing to take that kind of chance to further their career."

Qualifying could well be a key this week for Patrick. In her podium result at Monterey, Mexico she started fifth and quickly moved into the top-three. "I only have to look at my teammate Michel Jourdain [Champ Car Points Leader] to see how his success in qualifying has translated into podium finishes and points. We have had a pretty good car in the races and at Monterrey I was able to put myself in position for the podium because of the starting spot."

As the season approaches the half-way point Patrick finds herself ninth in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship with 29 points, a mere 12 points out of the top-five. "There are a several of us bunched right together in the points, and the next couple of races are really going to start to separate the field," said Patrick. "We need a couple of strong results and the points to move the Argent car to the front of this pack and then we can focus on the leaders."

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 TO TRY HER HAND AT ALMS

Three-weeks ago just prior to Milwaukee, Patrick flew to Georgia for a test in an American Le Mans Series car at Road Atlanta. So successful was the test that Patrick will make her ALMS debut at the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta next week (June 27-29) at Road Atlanta in a car for the British Prodrive team, which will field a pair of Ferrari 550 Maranellos in the GTS class.

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Series Atlantic
Drivers Bobby Rahal , Danica Patrick , Michel Jourdain