IndyCar Series rookie points leader Danica Patrick will start from the pole in Sunday’s Peak Antifreeze Indy 300, with Rahal Letterman Racing teammate Buddy Rice on the outside of the front row, after the initial pole run of Ryan Briscoe was disqualified for a technical infraction. It is Patrick’s third pole of the season, and the second front-row sweep of 2005 for Rahal Letterman. The team started 1-2-3 at Kansas Speedway in July, where Patrick was on the pole, followed by Rice and Vitor Meira.
Briscoe, the final driver to make a run, topped the field with an average speed of 217.133 mph for what would have been his second pole of the season. But his Target Chip Ganassi Racing entry, along with those of teammates Scott Dixon and Buddy Lazier, all failed post-qualifying technical inspection. The rear wing assembly on all three cars were found to be not in compliance with Indy Racing League
specifications, and all were moved to the rear of the 23-car starting field.
Series points leader Dan Wheldon will now start fifth for the four-car Andretti Green Racing effort as he seeks to clinch the drivers’ championship on Sunday, followed by teammate Bryan Herta. Dario Franchitti rounds out the top ten starters, with 2004 series champion Tony Kanaan in 13th.
Scott Sharp will start ninth for Delphi Fernandez Racing, with teammate Kosuke Matsuura rebounding from a crash in practice to qualify 12th. Roger Yasukawa will start 15th for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, while Meira, in the third Rahal Letterman entry, did not make a qualifying attempt following mechanical problems in the final practice session and now will start 20th.
Danica Patrick (#16 Argent Mortgage/Pioneer Rahal Letterman Racing Honda) pole qualifier, her third pole of 2005:
" We made a lot of progress from practice this morning. It feels great to win to win the pole in Chicago in front of all my friends and family. Three poles in a season is a great accomplishment for any driver. I'm proud that I was able to do it in my rookie year. Since this ties the rookie pole record, you can bet I'll be shooting for my fourth pole."