Patrick ties rookie record with third pole

Updated: September 11, 2005, 11:53 AM ET
Associated Press

JOLIET, Ill. -- Danica Patrick was awarded the pole for the PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300 after fellow rookie Ryan Briscoe failed a post-qualifying inspection Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway.

Patrick claimed her third pole, tying Tomas Scheckter for the IndyCar Series rookie record. The fourth driver to take to the track, she turned a fast lap of 215.970 mph.

Danica Patrick
AP PhotoDanica Patrick, on the pole for the third time in her rookie season, is still seeking her first victory.

Briscoe now has the 23rd spot, while Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon and Jaques Lazier were dropped from ninth to 22nd and 10th to 21st, respectively. Details of the infractions were not clear.

Patrick's fastest qualifying speed seemed safe until Briscoe, the final driver, temporarily replaced her on the pole.

Saturday's inspection failure was just another episode involving Patrick and Briscoe.

Two weeks ago, Briscoe slammed into the side of Patrick's car, taking out her and Helio Castroneves, while trying to pass on the 19th lap of the Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix at Infineon Raceway.

"It didn't make me feel extremely happy to get bumped off pole, but to get bumped off pole by the guy who took me out … it is what it is," said Patrick, who leads all rookies with 271 points -- 51 more than second-place Briscoe.

Patrick spoke before word of the inspection failure broke. So did Briscoe, who said there are "no hard feelings" and he felt worse for Castroneves after the last race.

"Helio was the one racing to win that race -- not Danica Patrick," Briscoe said.

Joining Patrick in the front row is Buddy Rice, who turned a lap of 215.799 mph. Scheckter (215.731) is third, with two-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. (215.717) fourth. Points leader and Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon (215.484) is fifth. Tony Kanaan, second in the standings, will start 13th (214.402). Castroneves (214.982) starts from the 11th spot.

Patrick was the second woman to win a pole Saturday, joining Sarah McCune, who led qualifying for the Infiniti Pro Series Chicagoland 100.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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