Patrick's Panoz Prowess Lands Her Sixth on Milwaukee Grid WEST ALLIS, WI - Once again, rookie Danica Patrick is the fastest driver in the Panoz pantheon after qualifying her ...
Patrick's Panoz Prowess Lands Her Sixth on Milwaukee Grid
WEST ALLIS, WI - Once again, rookie Danica Patrick is the fastest driver in the Panoz pantheon after qualifying her #16 Argent Mortgage/Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone racer sixth for the ABC Supply Co/AJ Foyt 225, race #10 in the Indy Racing League's 17-event 2005 campaign.
Improving by more than two-tenths from her initial timed lap on a mostly overcast and warm qualifying afternoon at The Milwaukee Mile, Patrick posted a quick tour of 167.328mph, the sixth driver to qualify. "I was concerned after my run because I was slower than I practiced this morning. The temperatures are higher and the track heated up, slowing us down a bit.
"Overall," Patrick advised, "It was a decent run. Our Panoz was well balanced and I think Sunday's race will be a matter of getting through traffic well. You have to be confident in your passing and attacking the corners. We'll do our best and pray for a little luck on Sunday."
The Milwaukee Mile is the sole IRL circuit on which the 23-year-old has competed and is the closest League track to her hometown of Roscoe, Illinois. "The bottom line on the track has been very slippery," she said. "I'm expecting a very tough race tomorrow and I'll be hanging on for dear life!"
Various setup aberrations scuttled the expectations of Vitor Meira, who will bring the #17 Menards/Johns Manville Panoz/Honda to the flags in 11th, Scott Sharp, whose #8 Delphi Panoz/Honda starts 13th and 2004 Indianapolis 500 champ Buddy Rice, 15th on the 21-car grid with his #15 Argent Mortgage/Pioneer Panoz/Honda.
The three-car Target Chip Ganassi Racing squad had a tough day. Scott Dixon starts 18th in the #9 Target Panoz/Toyota, while teammate Darren Manning (#10 Target Panoz/Toyota) failed to make a qualifying run and starts last. Rookie Ryan Briscoe (#33 Target Panoz/Toyota) crashed in morning practice and, while medically released to drive is being held out of the race by his team for precautionary reasons.
The ABC Supply/AJ Foyt 225 is set to take the green flags for 225 laps at 1:45PM CDT Sunday afternoon. Expected thunderstorms should present the Indy cars with a greener track than they've seen thus far this race weekend, leveling the playing field for all.