DANICA PATRICK (IndyCar Series), SARAH MCCUNE (Pro Series) TO START UP FRONT SUNDAY
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September 10, 2005 - Danica Patrick and Sarah McCune bested the boys at Chicagoland Speedway, claiming both pole positions for Sunday's Indy Racing League events at the track.
Patrick won her third career IRL IndyCar Series pole on Saturday after Ryan Briscoe's pole effort was thrown out for rules infractions found during post-qualifying inspection. He will start the race 23rd.
Ironically, Patrick, unaware that Briscoe's time would later be disqualified, was puzzled by the Aussie's speed.
"I was really surprised that he was fastest," she said. "I kept trying to think as qualifying was going on, 'Who's fast? Who was fast in practice?' And I kept thinking to myself, 'Wait a second. Everybody was faster than me in practice,' so everybody was my answer so I've got to worry about everybody."
"But I wasn't thinking Briscoe was going to do it."
Briscoe's Target Chip Ganassi teammates' times were also thrown out, forcing Jaques Lazier and 2003 IRL champion Scott Dixon to start at the back of the field in 21st and 22nd, respectively.
Patrick has been fast all season in qualifying. She has won poles this year at Kansas Speedway and Kentucky Speedway, and now ties Tomas Scheckter for most poles in a rookie season with three.
"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," Patrick, a native of Roscoe, Ill., said in a statement released by the team. "Since this ties the rookie pole record, you can bet I'll be shooting for my fourth pole."
Patrick's Rahal Letterman Racing teammate Buddy Rice will start the race second; Scheckter will start third.
Sam Hornish Jr. and series points leader Dan Wheldon round out the top five.
Patrick won't be the only woman starting up front Sunday.
McCune, in her series debut, made history when she won the pole for the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series Chicagoland 100. She joins Marco Andretti, A.J. Foyt IV, Travis Gregg and Thiago Medeiros as drivers to win the pole position in their first Menards Infiniti Pro Series start.
Travis Gregg, a Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammate of McCune, will start second. Vision Racing teammates Jay Drake and Nick Bussell will start third and fourth, respectively. Series points leader Wade Cunningham will start fifth.
McCune's 187.795 mph pole speed edged her Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammate Travis Gregg, who qualified second. This is the first time a woman qualified for pole in the series.
"I feel good that I followed up my fast (practice) times with a fast qualifying time and I'm just thinking about (Sunday) and focusing on winning," McCune said. "It feels good to back up all my test sessions with the strong times today, but now I've got to focus on the race.
"As a driver you are always setting goals for yourself, so when you meet one, it's just kind of straight onto the next one."
The Peak Antifreeze Indy 300 presented by Mr. Clean begins at 12:45 p.m. The Chicagoland 100 is at 11 a.m.