Danica
Patrick
2005/2006

 

2006 IRL Race Schedule & Results and Standings
World's Most Beautiful People 2006
News Stories - 2006

2005 Season:

  • Danica is the IRL Rookie of the Year for 2005 with 64 points ahead of the 2nd place rookie Tomas Enge (8 total rookies). She ended the year in 12th place (of 37 drivers) with 325 points. She is also the first rookie in IRL history to win over One Million dollars. Danica is only the second rookie in IRL history to win both Indy 500 and IRL IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year titles. (Kosuke Matsuura accomplish that feat in 2004). Danica qualified three times on the pole (one of only eight drivers to take the pole position this year and one of only 3 other drivers to win the pole three times). She's qualified in the Top Five 9 times, and in Top Ten 12 times. She finished in the Top Five twice and 7 times in the Top Ten with four DNFs.
  • Danica's IRL Race by Race Results - 2005
  • Danica's IRL 2005 Race Schedule & Final Results
  • IRL Rookie Stats - Danica comparison not complete

More Danica-1, More Danica - 2
Danica Pattrick , www.danicaracing.com , or E-mail

The Press

The Critics:

Related Stories: DanicaMore Danica-1, More Danica - 2, Women Racing, Women in Racing, Notable Women

Just in time for Indy 500 - 2006


Danica Patrick will mark her return to the Indianapolis 500 – where she finished a remarkable fourth last season as a rookie – by releasing her autobiography in the days leading up to the race. Danica Patrick - Crossing the Line. It chronicles her life with tales from the track and insights into her personal life.

Her time at the 500 last season cemented her as one of the most recognizable faces in auto racing after she earned the best starting position (fourth) and finishing position (fourth) by a woman at Indianapolis. She also became the first woman to lead the 500.
Source: www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/sports/motorsports/14379244.htm

 

Snippets - 2006


Danica gridded 16 at Watkins Glen and finished 8th on a rain-soaked track and moved up to 7th in overall points of 37 drivers even considering that the Rahal/Letterman drivers have one less race than their competitors because they did not compete in the first race of the season since fellow drive, Paul Dana, had been killed in practice that weekend. She leads fellow teammates Buddy Rice (ranked 14th) and Jeff Simmons (ranked 20th). She's had 4 Top 10 Finishes out of 4 starts.

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Leading the Way - Newsweek - 9/25/06


In their September 25, 2006 issue, Newsweek profiles 20 women who are poised to be the next generation of leaders in their fields—whether it's sports, business, finance, politics or the arts. In their own words, they tell how they got where they are and where they hope to go next. Danica Patrick was the lead.

I started racing go-carts when I was 10 and, to be honest, the competitiveness started right away. It wasn't like a fun car track; it was a real racetrack. I was qualifying and put into race conditions and earning points throughout the year, which contributed to a year-end points championship.

Today I guess I drive pretty fast even on the highway in my Lamborghini. I don't like to drive at enormous top speed, but I do like to drive a little bit faster than everyone else. So if everybody on the highway is doing 80, I'll do 82 or something, and if people are driving 60, I'll want to do 62. I think there's something in my blood, in my instincts, that makes me want to overtake.

I never had idols or role models; I wasn't that kind of girl. I never was striving to achieve female goals. I was just trying to be the best that I could be. I don't like to put parameters on my goals; I just like to take everything as far as I can. I learned from people that I knew along the way, but I didn't have somebody that I wanted to be like. I wanted to be the first Danica, not the next somebody else.

I have to prove myself a few more times than a guy would have to prove himself, because women succeeding in a man's world is fairly new territory—especially for race-car driving. In this sport, the rules are the same for women and men. This shows that women can compete with men under the same guidelines.

I tell young women to find what you love and dream really big, have huge aspirations for yourself and never give up. That whole never-giving-up part only happens when you want to do something badly enough or when you love something enough.

My mother has had her moments with her hands over her eyes when I'm racing and there are moments when I want to put my hands over my eyes and go, "Oh, my gosh!" It's a dangerous sport, but I also believe that it's dangerous driving on the highway. So ... pick your poison.

When I'm going three-wide in the corner at 220 miles an hour and I have cars on both sides, that's not comfortable because I can't see them. But I get used to it. You somehow learn how to relax in those kinds of situations. In the riskier situations, I do get a little bit tense. I focus on how the car feels and I try and make sure I'm ready to respond to anything. I hold my line very well. I don't think I have time to be nervous or take any major action other than responding to the car.

Before a race, it's nerve-racking. You always want things to go well. The first thing that I get nervous about is just having a good car, a car that handles well. Then I get nervous about making the most of it and not letting down my equipment.

On the track, I'm aggressive and determined. When I make a pass, I believe it's going to happen. I don't just try something to try it, and I don't stick my neck out there when there's only a 50 percent chance that I'm going to come out on top. I think that's when you get into accidents, and that's when you have a lot of crash damage. You've got to be about 80 percent sure that something's going to go right. You never can tell the full 100 because you can't control other people.

You can never give up because sometimes during a race you might think there's no chance you're going to do well. The next minute, you could have an opportunity. You have to be ready for anything because things can change. It's the same in business or anything else; you can never believe you're out of the game. It's about determination and being a scrappy fighter who will do anything and holds no mercy.

I don't regret anything I've done, including posing for FHM magazine. It was great. I wore bathing suits, shorts, corset-style tops and high heels. What girl doesn't want to be seen as being pretty or sexy? Guys take their shirts off, too; it's just that a woman's body is perceived differently. If you're just true to yourself, and if being sexy is being true to yourself, then it is OK. It's part of your personality. At the end of the day, life should be fun.
Source: www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14870541/site/newsweek/

Chicagoland - 9/10/06


Danica Patrick was the highest finishing RLR driver in the championship (9th) with 302 points. Patrick ran one less race than the rest of the top-ten. She did finish sixth in the series in laps completed (2299), but if you remove the 200 laps ran at Homestead she finished second only to Scott Dixon (2304-2299). . .Patrick posted just one DNF all season which came due to a fuel shortage at Michigan.

Danica Patrick appeared at the Plainfield, Illinois Meijer store and signed autographs on Friday night. . .Bobby Rahal attended a dinner for BEA on Saturday night. . .Jeff Simmons, Rice and Patrick all attended an Ethanol reception on Saturday night which celebrated the League's move to 100% Ethanol in 2007. A feature on Patrick will debut on the September Real Sports on September 19th on HBO. . .The Weather Channel interviewed Danica Patrick and her engineer Ray Leto for a documentary celebrating The 100 Greatest Moments in Weather. The documentary series which will be part of TWC's 25th Anniversary had approximately a dozen subjects the two were interviewed on ranging from wind tunnel's and wiper blades to bad hair days. . .On Friday Patrick shot a photo for Newsweek Magazine for an upcoming special issue which will focus on Women and Leadership. . .Patrick won the DownForce Fan Club's Most Popular Driver Award for the second straight season.

RLR trio seeks a strong finish to a frustrating 2006 season - 9/7/06


The 2006 season for Rahal Letterman Racing has been a long and difficult campaign.

The last two months have seen RLR make giant strides forward with the Dallara chassis. Patrick has climbed solidly into the top-ten and Simmons has displayed the skill and patience that drew Rahal's attention during those difficult days at the start of the season.

"There would be no better way to finish the season than with a win," said Patrick who will be driving her final race for RLR this Sunday. "I am really proud of how this team overcame some tough circumstances and we have made some great strides with the chassis and have run competitively the last few races. There was a point earlier this year that I didn't think we could get to this point, but it has taken a lot of hard work from everyone at RLR and we can say we have really accomplished something."

Patrick who won the pole at Chicagoland in 2005 and finished sixth knows everyone will be pushing with Sunday's race being the last of the season.

"Last year it seemed like everyone was a lot more aggressive at the last race, and sure enough I got caught in a crash. I expect more of the same this weekend, but there are four cars that will be fighting for the championship so they have to be aggressive, but they can't take unnecessary chances. All I know is that is always makes the off season go smoother if you finish on a high note. I always approach each race the same, but the last race of the season is always special."
Source: rahal.com/season/news/index.jsp?newsid=1196

Danica Dazzles them at Wrigley - 9/7/06


With her cool demeanor in the bright spotlight of media attention it would seem hard to imagine anything that makes Danica Patrick nervous, but she had a genuine case of the nerves on Thursday afternoon when she appeared at Wrigley Field to throw out the ceremonial first pitch and to sing Take Me Out To The Ball Game. For Patrick, a lifelong Cubs fan, it was a huge honor and one she took serious enough that she insisted on a warm-up session before her first pitch.

"I have had the opportunity to do a lot of cool things in the last couple of years, but this is an honor that I can relate back to my youth watching the Cubs on TV with my Dad," said Patrick. "I was really nervous, but I had a lot of fun and I hope I can do it again in the future."
Source: rahal.com/season/news/index.jsp?newsid=1196

Simmons eventh, Patrick eighth at Sonoma - 8/27/06


Jeff Simmons and Danica Patrick each ran a strong race claiming seventh and eighth at Sunday's Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway. The third member of RLR's driving trio Buddy Rice had a difficult day getting caught in an on track incident and suffering a gear box problem.

Danica Patrick ran third most of the race on a fuel strategy. It appeared the decision would pay off when she returned from a splash and go in the top-ten with most of the leaders tight on fuel. When Bryan Herta spun bringing out the final yellow the strategy window was closed and Patrick was left with her eighth top-ten finish of the season, surpassing the seven she posted in her rookie year. In the three road races this season she finished no lower than eighth, a marked improvement from her rookie campaign.

"This was a pretty good run for the No 16 Argent Honda," said Patrick. "We have made some very good progress in the last year on the road courses. We ran a different fuel strategy today and we would have probably had a top-five had that last yellow not come out. We finished in the top-eight on all three road courses this year and last season that would have been pretty unlikely. I was proud of how we raced when we were up front. I was racing with Tony (Kanaan) and Dario (Franchitti) and those are two of the more experience road course drivers in the series, and we were holding our own. I think we have done a really good job in the recent races, we just need to qualify better and then who knows what can happen."
Source: http://rahal.com/season/news/index.jsp?newsid=1195

Danica to join Andretti Green Racing in 2007 - 7/25/06


Danica Patrick signed with Andretti Green Racing on Tuesday, deciding to stay in the Indy Racing League instead of switching to NASCAR.

Patrick will start driving for her new team in 2007. Her current contract with Rahal Letterman expires at the end of the season. Though she toyed with joining NASCAR, Patrick said last week she was leaning toward saying in the IndyCar series.

"Danica has shown great talent during her first two seasons in the IndyCar Series," CEO Michael Andretti said. "Our focus has been and always will be on winning races and winning championships. We certainly believe Danica will do that. She has made it very clear that one of her goals as a driver is to win the Indianapolis 500 and we are looking forward to giving her a great opportunity to do that."

Patrick, who was selected 2005 IndyCar Series rookie of the year, is the third driver under contract to Andretti Green racing for 2007. She joins Tony Kannan and Marco Andretti on the team. Andretti Green has four full-time entries in the series.

Patrick's father, T.J., caused a stir earlier this month when he showed up at a Nextel Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway and told a Chicago Tribune reporter that Patrick was interested in switching to NASCAR.

But Patrick said she was just exploring every option and always was leaning toward staying in IndyCar.

Patrick has finished fourth in back-to-back races and is currently ninth in the IndyCar standings, but her Rahal team generally hasn't been competitive this season.

When asked last week about loyalty to team owner Bobby Rahal, who gave Patrick her first shot at big-time racing, Patrick said, "I would hope that over the course of the last year and a half, and even before that, I would hope that I have brought things to him, too. I would hope that I have helped him in some way."
Source: msn.foxsports.com/nascar/story/5802336?FSO1&ATT=HCP

 

Patrick fourth, Simmons seventh at Nashville - 7/16/06


Danica Patrick equaled her best IndyCar Series finish of fourth and rookie Jeff Simmons posted his top IndyCar Series finish of seventh as Rahal Letterman Racing posted one of its strongest outings of the season. RLR's third driver Buddy Rice ran a strong race, but succumbed to an electrical problem midway through the event.

Patrick overcame a whirlwind week of media scrutiny with a stellar run matching her best IndyCar Series result. Starting tenth, Patrick moved through the field and ran as high as second en route to posting her top finish of the season

"Tonight's run was a product of a labor," said Patrick. "The Argent crew has been working hard to get the new Dallara chassis competitive and tonight we saw the result of that work. I am happy for the crew and the team overall. They had great pit stops and the car was working well in the second half of the race. That's what it takes to be competitive this series. One of these times we are going to win one. We just need to hang around more often with the leaders. I knew it was very difficult to go around people on the high side. I didn't want to run high. So I stayed on the low side and the car ran extremely well. I had to protect the inside because no one wanted to go high tonight. If you got in the high line, you picked up the marbles near the wall and then you couldn't go anywhere for a few laps. On the first restart, I got caught off guard and I didn't heat up the tires enough, but on the other restarts I was ready and I think I made a couple of good moves. It is good to be back up in the top five again. If we can run with these guys up in the front, we can get a win. Now I want to do that the rest of the year."

Ganassi Racing stopped the Penske express. Scott Dixon led a one-two Ganassi sweep by edging his teammate Dan Wheldon. The win pulled Dixon to within five points of points leader Sam Hornish Jr. who posted his first DNF after crashing on lap 130.

The IRL IndyCar Series will resume with Round 10 of the 2006 season, the ABC Supply Company AJ Foyt Indy 225, next week at the Milwaukee Mile. Source: rahal.com/season/news/index.jsp?newsid=1175

Tough night in Texas for RLR trio - 6/10/06


The Dallara era has officially begun for Rahal Letterman Racing and the team fought ill luck and the learning curve at the Texas Motor Speedway. Danica Patrick was RLR's top finisher in Saturday nights Bombardier Learjet 500 bringing home the Argent Mortgage Honda/Dallara/Firestone in 12th. Rookie Jeff Simmons posted his best IndyCar Series finish at 15th while 2004 Indy champ Buddy Rice saw his day end early due to a mechanical failure on lap 71.

Patrick started 14th, but finished 12th after a steady run in the new Dallara. Patrick's result snapped a streak of four consecutive top-eight results for the 2005 Rookie of the Year.

"It was our first time in the Dallara and while it looks like a tough night based on where I finished, I was pretty happy because we did finish," said Patrick. "We started in the back and I didn't have awesome starts or restarts. I was a little bit cautious on the restarts because I wasn't sure how the car would handle in traffic. If you don't get going with the group it can be tough to make up ground. People were spreading out and just like last year that wasn't a lot of yellows which helped stagger the field. We had a little bit of understeer in the first stint but we made an adjustment and then I was pretty solid in the Argent Mortgage Honda for the rest of the race. I was able to run the low line and the high line, which proved to be a good thing because I think my "friends" couldn't run the high line like I could so I just ran the bottom. I raced hard today. I really had to work hard for every spot I got. I had to pass Dario [Franchitti] every single time I stopped, which isn't the easiest thing in the world, but we made it work and we brought the car home in one piece and we earned some points."

Penske Racing's Helio Castroneves, the points leader, won his third race of the season edging Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon for the win.

The IRL IndyCar Series will have a week off before returning to the track at Richmond International Raceway for the SunTrust Indy Challenge (June 23 - 24).
Source: rahal.com/season/news/index.jsp?newsid=1151

Rice takes fourth at 'The Glen' - 6/4/06


Buddy Rice took fourth and Danica Patrick took eighth in a wild rain influenced Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix. The race was run in unseasonably cool and wet conditions that felt more like late autumn than early June. The wet conditions and the numerous yellow flags prompted multiple race strategies in the 19 car field and provided one of the more memorable IndyCar Series road races since the league added road courses last season.

Patrick started 16th and finished eighth, her second best result in five IndyCar Series road races. Patrick was running a strong race when she was clipped by Eddie Cheever Jr. on a restart and pushed into the Turn 11 wall. Patrick was able to return to the pits and despite losing a lap repair the front nose. Patrick worked hard conserving fuel and advancing and she was able to un lap her No. 16 Argent Mortgage/Honda/Panoz/Firestone and finished on the lead lap.

"We managed to get to the finish today," said Patrick. "It was good effort the Argent Honda crew today. (Eddie) Cheever took me out on the restart and that was what put us a lap down. It is unfortunate and it is silly. There was no point in doing something so desperate on a restart, but he did it. I don't know why he was trying to pass there. The Firestone rain tires were good for our car today. They didn't fall off with our car and I felt I was able to close in on a lot of guys in the wet. We weren't the faster car out there, but I think we would have done better if we hadn't been taken out. I think we might be able to be up there with Buddy in fourth place. Buddy did a great job today. It was a very testing day from a driver's standpoint. The conditions were constantly changing. It is very difficult to get a lap back on a road course, but our guys got me back on the lead lap and we finish eighth."

Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon captured his second straight IndyCar Series race at Watkins Glen. He edged Vitor Meira by 2.3 seconds over a final stint run on slick tires in damp conditions. Former Ganassi driver Ryan Briscoe was third driving in his first race for Dreyer Reinbold.

The IndyCar Series will return to the track this week with the Bombardier Learjet 500 Saturday night at the Texas Motor Speedway.
Source: rahal.com/season/news/index.jsp?newsid=1146

Rice paces RLR practice effort at Watkins Glen - 6/2/06


Buddy Rice paced the practice effort of Rahal Letterman Racing on the first day of the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix. Rice posted a fast lap of 131.481 mph in the afternoon session in the No. 15 Argent Mortgage/Honda/Panoz/Firestone to finish eleventh overall.

Danica Patrick endured a frustrating day, finishing 16th overall in the No. 16 Argent Mortgage Honda/Panoz/Firestone with a fast lap of 129.236 mph.

"The Argent Honda isn't where we want it to be, but we are making progress. We started slowly at St. Pete this year, but we progressed and ended up having a pretty good weekend. Sometimes the toughest thing for a driver to do is to be patient. This is a tough demanding track and there are no quick fixes. Ray [Leto] and I have our work ahead of us, but I am confident we will have a better car tomorrow and an even better car on Sunday."

Helio Castroneves, the IndyCar Series points leader, was quickest on Friday with a fast lap of 133.792 mph in the afternoon session. Tony Kanaan was second quick followed by rookie Marco Andretti.

Practice and qualifying will resume on Saturday. The second annual Watkins Glen Indy GP will be held Sunday at 3:30 pm Eastern and be shown live on ABC.
Source: rahal.com/season/news/index.jsp?newsid=1144

Patrick takes eighth at Indianapolis - 5/28/06


Rahal Letterman Racing's Danica Patrick drove a smart mistake free race and claimed an eighth place finish to lead RLR's effort in the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500. Patrick, the 2005 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year, climbed to fifth and appeared to be in position to make a late charge towards the front when she was burned by an ill timed yellow on the last pit stop cycle.

"The No. 16 Argent team ran clean today," said Patrick. "I didn't make any mistakes and team didn't make any mistakes. From last year to this year, we made a huge improvement. We just haven't been the fastest car all month and that was the case again today. It was important that we did everything well today. I thought the car was stronger later in my runs. There was a lot of concern amongst the teams coming into the race about the effect of the high heat on everything. The track was extremely slippery today, but my Firestone tires did a great job. I am a little disappointed because we had some bad luck on the timing of the last pit stop. We knew that we needed to change tires when we fueled up. I had pitted under green and then a couple of laps later the track went yellow. I thought if we had caught a break and got a yellow at the right time we might have had a top five finish. I remember in the race a year ago that I caught a lot of breaks. So sometimes you catch them and sometime you don't. I guess I am glad we finished the race. You know, I think I drove harder this year than I did last year. I should be happy with eighth considering all that we went through this month, but I am not. I am sure by tomorrow I will appreciate how much progress we made in such a short time."

Pole sitter Sam Hornish Jr. of Penske Racing won the 90th Indy 500 in spectacular fashion edging rookie Marco Andretti by 0.0635 seconds, the second closest Indy finish ever. Hornish who at one point was lapped, tracked down the 19-year-old rookie over the final three laps and passed him on front straight to take the checkered flag. Michael Andretti was third and 2005 Indy champ Dan Wheldon was fourth.

The IndyCar Series heads next to upstate New York for the IndyCar Grand Prix of Watkins Glen (June 2-4).
Source: rahal.com/season/news/index.jsp?newsid=1142

Danica and Buddy Finished in Top 10 in Japan - 4/21/06


Danic Patrick fnishes 8th for the second IRL race in a row at Japan's Twin Ring Motegi. Buddy Rice took 5th and their newest driver Jeff Simmons had an accident 40 laps in and DNFd. Danica was less than 16 seconds behind the winner at the finish. The remaining drivers had been lapped by the winner.

Danica Patrick started 14th and finished eighth, collecting her second top-ten result of the season. The 2005 IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year, topped off a busy week of promotional appearance in Japan with a solid run for points.

"I don't think our Argent Mortgage Honda was that fast, but I do think we were smart enough with our strategy and our pit stops were good enough and we were able to run consistently that it produced a solid result," said Patrick. "We just weren't able to run consistently fast enough to overtake the leaders. I had one stint where I was really able to make up some time and gain position, but I battled understeer most of the day. Unfortunately when you have problems at Motegi going through [turns] three and four it will limit what you can do. Overall we weren't super fast, but we did get our result. I am disappointed that on the last restart I got chopped pretty good. Everybody was getting a little feisty with their moves and everybody was a little too bold. At least we finished and scored more points and we didn't do anything stupid."

The IRL IndyCar Series race will return to the United States for the "Month of May" and the Indianapolis 500. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway opens on May 7 for Rookie Orientation and on May 9 for open practice. The 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for May 28 and 1:00 pm local time.
Source: http://rahal.com/season/news/index.jsp?newsid=1120

Patrick takes sixth at St Pete - 4/2/06


While Rahal Letterman Racing's Danica Patrick claimed a sixth place finish, her best ever result in an IndyCar on a street or road course, her teammate Buddy Rice was left to wonder what could have been. Rice ran a brilliant race and appeared to be headed for a top-four finish when he was involved in a late race accident with Vision Racing's Tomas Scheckter. Rice finished 13th overall after the crash with less than four laps remaining.

Patrick ran a solid and steady race in the No. 16 Argent Mortgage Honda/Panoz. She started 14th and maximized her fuel mileage and pit strategy to move through the field to collect her highest non-oval IndyCar Series result.

"We gambled on a two pit strategy and the key for us today was our fuel mileage," said Patrick. "We had to make sure that we got good fuel mileage. We ran pretty conservatively the first half to three-quarters of the race. We really made sure that we were getting good mileage, especially under the yellows, and that enabled us to do the race in two stops. It made all the difference. I said it earlier to the Argent group, our team is pretty good when it comes to strategy and that was something they should watch for today. The experience we have gained over the last year really helped today. I really had a feel for when I could push the Argent Honda and when I needed to be patient and not make mistakes. We just need to build on this momentum. It was really important for us to place well since we didn't run last week. It doesn't matter if it was a DNF or a withdraw last week, we just had to score points in St. Pete. With 14 races on the schedule anytime you don't finish the race it is going to loom large."

The IRL IndyCar Series will return to the track April 22 with the Japan Indy 300 at the famed Twin Ring Motegi in Japan.
Source: rahal.com/season/news/index.jsp?newsid=1109

Patrick will start 14th at St. Petersburg Tomorrow - 4/1/ 06


Danica Patrick improved over her Friday practice, but she was unable to duplicate the dramatic jump she had last week at Homestead when she qualified third. Patrick will start on the outside of row seven next to defending IRL champ Dan Wheldon after posting a lap of 100.553 mph in the Argent Mortgage/Honda.

"I had hoped I would go a little faster than this, but at the end of the day you have to settle in with what you got because you can't go back. With one lap in qualifying I always walk away thinking I should have done this or I should have done that. For the most part I went out there and drove as hard as I could in the Argent/Honda and most importantly still kept it on the track. Our focus this weekend has been to make the car as good as possible for the race. There is always attrition in a street race so if you can finish this race without a mistake you should be somewhere near the front."

Practice will resume Sunday morning on the streets of St. Petersburg followed by the Honda Grand Prix of St. Pete which will be seen live on ESPN at 3:30 pm EDT.

Rice and Patrick ready for a return to the track at St. Petersburg - 3/29/06


After an emotional and difficult week, Rahal Letterman Racing's driver duo of Buddy Rice and Danica Patrick will return to the track this weekend for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The race will essentially serve as the 2006 season opener for RLR. The team withdrew the cars of Patrick and Rice from the season opening race after the tragedy involving Paul Dana last Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

For 2005 IRL IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick the frustration of Friday practice at Homestead turned to optimism after a stellar qualifying run on Saturday. Patrick claimed the third spot on the grid with a fast lap of 216.798 mph.

"It will be a relief to get back on track and to get our season started," said Patrick. "We have spent a lot of time in testing and preparation for the season and unfortunately the start of our season was delayed. The choice not to run last week was Bobby's [Rahal] decision and I think it was the right one. We have to view Homestead as a race where we basically had an early DNF. In the grand scheme of the championship and the season standings Homestead could be a factor."

Patrick will be making her fourth IndyCar Series start on a road course. She finished 12th at St. Petersburg a year ago after fighting gearbox troubles during the race.

"Through a pit strategy, we had a decent run going at St. Pete," said Patrick. "When we lost the gearbox we had to pit and change the gears which cost us a couple of laps. There was a lot of impatience on display in the race here last year. I don't know if that will be the case again this year or not, but you have to be ready to take advantage of your competition's mistakes."
Source: rahal.com/season/news/index.jsp?newsType=current&newsid=1103

Co-Driver Killed in Practice - 3/26/06


The Sunday practice was filled with tragedy. Paul Dana was killed during practice when he ran head-on into Ed Carpenter, who spun out ahead of him. The Rahal team of Danica Patrick and Buddy Rice pulled out of the race in his memory. Dana is the first IRL driver killed since Tony Renna died in a crash during testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in October 2003. Scott Brayton also died in a crash during practice for the 1996 Indy 500 and Gordon Smiley was killed during practice for the 1982 Indianapolis 500. The IRL also had a tragedy in May 1999 when a wheel from a car sailed into the grandstand at what was then Charlotte Motor Speedway, killing three spectators and injuring eight others.

The last NASCAR driver killed was Dale Earnhardt in February 2001, the last driver to die in Formula One was Ayrton Senna in May 1994, and the last driver killed in the Champ Car World Series was Greg Moore in 1999.

It is the third racing death at the Homestead track - John Nemechek was killed in a NASCAR truck race in February 1997 and Jeff Clinton died in a Grand Am sports car event at the track in March 2002. Deaths Racing

Patrick (3rd), Rice (6th) and Dana (9th) claim top spots for Sunday's IndyCar Series opener - 3/25/0


After a frustrating day on track on Friday Rahal Letterman Racing's Danica Patrick nearly captured the pole position for the 2006 IRL IndyCar Series opener with a fast lap of 216.798 mph in qualifying at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Patrick the 2005 IRL IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year, made her IndyCar Series debut at Homestead last year qualifying ninth.

"The Argent Mortgage Honda felt pretty good in qualifying, which is something I haven't been able to say at all this weekend," said Patrick. "I guess my engineer Ray [Leto] must have some magic in him because he solved most of the problems from this morning. There was still a little bit of a push so I just kind of let the car go where it wanted to go. Because there was a push in the car the front end of the car wasn't getting around the corner as well as I would have liked. Instead of fighting it and adding more understeer I just kind of let it drift to where it wanted to go. More than anything, I am a little bit relieved after this run, especially after the problems we had yesterday. A run like this helps you gain the confidence you need to keep your foot down. All we have focused on was getting the car to be balanced and to be at the point where I can really push the car hard and be confident in it."

Buddy Rice grabbed sixth on the starting grid with a fast lap of 215.913 mph. Rice started fourth at Homestead a year ago but mechanical troubles forced from to the sidelines after a strong early run.

Penske Racing swept the front row for the Toyota Indy 300. Sam Hornish Jr. established a new track record for Homestead with a fast lap of 218.539 mph, which is especially notable because the record came in the IndyCar Series first event with the new ethanol blended fuel. Hornish is joined on the front row by his Penske teammate Helio Castroneves who posted a fast lap of 218.087 mph.
Source: rahal.com/season/news/index.jsp?newsType=current&newsid=1099

Rice paces RLR on first day of Homestead-Miami practice - 3/24/06


Rahal Letterman Racing's Buddy Rice and Danica Patrick prepare for the 2006 IRL IndyCar Series season opener on Sunday afternoon.

Patrick, the 2005 IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year, wasn't thrilled with how the first day of practice unfolded. Patrick posted a fast lap of 212.143 mph in the No. 16 Argent Mortgage Honda/Panoz/Firestone. Last season Patrick started ninth at Homestead and was running solidly in the top-ten when she was caught in an eight car collision.

"We worked a lot on race setup today and we wanted to see how the car reacted in traffic," said Patrick. "The car was moving around too much to be comfortable. I had some trouble today hanging in there with the other guys in traffic. I think Buddy was a little better in traffic so I want to talk to him about what he felt. The conditions were much different from the open test when we had a lot of wind and hotter temps and that can cause the car to react differently. I think it is a little confusing right now, but we will look at it in the trailer and get a plan for Saturday. I know that we can sit down and go over our data and make some changes. It's good to have three drivers and engineers to talk out the problems and the emphasize good things. I'm confident we'll get the car back in the right mode for qualifying and the race."
Source: rahal.com/season/news/index.jsp?newsid=1098

Rahal Letterman Racing enters the 90th Indianapolis 500


Rahal Letterman Racing (RLR), one of the leading open-wheel race teams in North America, announced today it has submitted its official entries for the 90th Indianapolis 500 to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. RLR will field at least two entries at Indianapolis with IndyCar Series drivers Buddy Rice and Danica Patrick.

The 2006 Indy 500 will mark Rahal Letterman Racing's fifth consecutive Indianapolis 500. RLR won the 2004 Indy and finished as the runner-up in the 2005 race.

Danica Patrick captured the headlines at the 'Brickyard' last spring qualifying fourth, leading 19 laps and nearly winning the race en route to a fourth place finish and being named Indy 500 Rookie of the Year. Patrick will once again drive the familiar No. 16 Argent Mortgage Honda/Panoz/Firestone at the Speedway.

"The entire Indy experience is something I will remember as long as I live," said Patrick. "Looking back now the month seems like a blur, but every day I live in the aftermath of Indy. I have thought a lot about last year and I realize how close we were to winning the pole and the race. I am looking forward to another shot at Indy."

Rahal Letterman Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and co-owned by three-time PPG IndyCar Series Champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal and CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman, has been a leading open-wheel racing operation for more than a decade compiling 19 victories, 28 poles and one series championship (Bobby Rahal in 1992 in CART) and an Indianapolis 500 championship (Rice in 2004). In 2006 Rahal Letterman Racing will campaign three cars in the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series. Buddy Rice and 2005 Indianapolis and IRL IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick and rookie driver Paul Dana will pilot Honda powered Panoz cars with primary sponsorship by Argent Mortgage Company and Ethanol.
Source: rahal.com/season/news/index.jsp?newsid=1097

Rahal Letterman drivers have great exepctations for 2006


The dawn of the 2006 IRL IndyCar Series season brings Buddy Rice and Danica Patrick back as the drivers of the Argent Mortgage Honda/Panoz cars.

Rice entering his fifth IndyCar Series season and his third with RLR is the leader of the all-American crew. The 2004 Indy 500 winner is looking to bounce back from a nightmarish 2005 which saw him post a career high seven DNFs. Rice entered last season with championship aspirations and he enters the '06 campaign with his eyes on the season championship.

"Nobody in the paddock was happier to see last season end than I," said Rice. "I worked hard this off season and I am really looking forward to 2006. I am optimistic that this is going to be a big year for us. There is a lot of similarity between this year and 2004 in that a lot of people are overlooking us heading into the season. I think we will surprise a few of the so called experts."

In Danica Patrick's case the spotlight is shining bright heading into the 2006 season. The surge of post Indy media that became known as Danica-Mania has resumed and the 5'2" 105-pound Patrick faces the challenge of balancing the off track demands with the on track competition.

"There are a lot of expectations heading into the season from fans, sponsors and the media," said Patrick the 2005 IRL Rookie of the Year. "Those expectations are not any higher than what I place on myself. I have always tended to be tougher on myself than those around me. We led races, won pole positions, and raced well last season. The next logical step is to win, but I am only making my 18th IndyCar start this weekend. I still have a lot to learn and I have to build on that knowledge base. Bobby [Rahal] gave me great advice at Homestead last year when he told me to just finish. I am still learning and the key for me is to build on what I have learned to this point. I am heading into the season looking to qualify well and run up front. If we can do that those top-ten results will become top-five results and eventually those top-five finishes will become wins."

In 2006 Rahal Letterman Racing enters its fourth full-time season as an IRL IndyCar Series competitor and its second season of running three full-time entries.

"Running three cars was a huge advantage at Indy in 2004 and it really helped at times last season," said Rice. "It really allows a team to maximize its track time and on the two-day weekends that can be critical."
Source: rahal.com/season/news/index.jsp?newsType=current&newsid=1096

Snippets - 2006


PEAK Antifreeze offers a Chance to Win Private Open Wheel Driving Lessons with Danica Patrick. Get a sweepstakes entry form from a PEAK retailer or visit www.peakantifreeze.com to enter online by 12/31/06.

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Danica starter 15th, next to Sarach Fisher, and finished 12th in the final race of the season at Chicagoland Raceway to keep her 9th place overall standing for 2006. Danica's draw for the year was less than a million.

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Danica Patrick posted her best ever IndyCar Series road course qualifying effort with a fast lap of 104.772 mph. She was gridded 11th, got to 3rd on pit stops, and finished the race at Infineon Raceways in 8th. She currently ranks 9th overall in the series with 284 poionts.

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Danica Patrick posted her best ever IndyCar Series road course qualifying effort with a fast lap of 104.772 mph. Patrick topped her previous best effort of 14th at St. Petersburg by three spots and she becomes the top RLR road course qualifier for the first time. Patrick will start eleventh, three spots better than her previous best start of 14th at St. Petersburg. Patrick has a pair of top-eight results on road courses this year and will look for another top-ten on Sunday , August 27 - Infineon Raceway , Sonoma, California. Distance: 80 laps/184 miles. 3:30PM EST on ESPN.

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Danica Patrick was optimistic after the morning session at Infineon (8/25), but a chaotic afternoon session featuring multiple yellow flags left the second year driver frustrated with a lack of overall progress and behind her two teamates. The race will be Sunday, August 27 - Infineon Raceway , Sonoma, California. Distance: 80 laps/184 miles. 3:30PM EST on ESPN. It's unclear how involved Bobby Rahal is anymore with the Indy Car series since his web site's home page hasn't even up-dated his driver's points standings since 2005.

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Started 11th at Kentucky Speedway with a qualifying time of 215.456 and finsihed 200 laps to finish 8th. She remains 10th in the over-all standings with 2 top 5 and 7 top 10 of 11 starts. Next race Sunday, August 27 - Infineon Raceway , Sonoma, California. Distance: 80 laps/184 miles. 3:30PM EST on ESPN

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In the rain delayed Michigan International Speedway race Sunday, July 30, Danica started 11th with a qualifing time of 213.357 and finished 197 of the 200 laps to finish 17th and drop to 10th in the over-all standings. Only three more races to go with the Rahal/Letterman team. Next race Sunday, August 13 - Kentucky Speedway , at 3:30PM EST on ABC where she will be on the track with Sarah Fisher in the number 5 car. See a comparison here.

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Danica qualified 10th at 200.283 at Nashville Superspeedway (7/15/06) and finished 4th, her highest finish this year. She moved from 12th in over-all points, to 9th in spite of missing the first race of the season.

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On Wednesday (7/12/06), at the taping of the ESPY's, Danica told rapper Ludacris, after receiving her award, that she'd like to be in one of his videos. He said that she'd have to "shake her money-maker," which Danica proceeded to do.

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With almost no track time to trim out her race car because of rain-delayed practices all month, Danica was able to squeeze at 224.508/2:40.2319 time out of the number 16 Argent race car to take the number 10 spot on the grid ahead of teammates Buddy Rice (gridded 14th) and Jeff Simmons (gridded 26th). She also gridded ahead of other famous names in racing, Michael Andretti, Eddie Cheever Jr, Buddy Lazier, and Al Unser Jr, to name a few.

 

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