First Pole For Patrick
July 2, 2005 | 12:33 P.M. EST
It was the rookie's first MBNA Pole Award, with her best prior effort second at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan. She joins Sarah Fisher as the only female drivers to capture poles in IRL IndyCar Series competition.
Qualifying 21st of the 22 entries, Patrick ran a quick lap of 25.4905 seconds to bump her teammate by two-thousandths of a second. Rice ran a lap of 25.4927 seconds, 214.650 mph, while Meira was third fastest, 214.546 mph.
Now, the question is, “Can she win?” Fisher has the best finish for a woman in IRL competition, second at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2001, while Patrick has a pair of fourth-place finishes this year, at Japan and in the Indianapolis 500.
“Have I learned enough to win?” she asked, rhetorically. “I hope so. I’ve been waiting 14 years for this moment. Let’s do it.”
Patrick was fastest in opening practice Saturday, and then ran second behind Dario Franchitti in the second session.
Tomas Scheckter put Chevrolet in the second row by qualifying fourth at 214,543 mph. Darren Manning was the fastest Toyota qualifier, 214.543 mph, and will share the third row with Franchitti.
IndyCar Series points lead Dan Wheldon will start 13th, and will join the series’ most recent winner, Helio Castroneves, in the seventh row.
The Argent Mortgage Kansas Indy 300 takes the green flag at 1 p.m. (EDT) Sunday, July 3.