Originally created 07/03/05

Patrick at front of pack

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Danica Patrick won her first Indy Racing League pole Saturday at Kansas Speedway, becoming the second woman to take the top spot.

Patrick turned in a quick lap of 214.688 mph on her second try around the 1-mile tri-oval in qualifying for today's Argent Mortgage Indy 300. Sarah Fisher was the first female pole-sitter, starting first at a race in 2002 in Kentucky.

Patrick, making her eighth career start, was fastest in the morning practice session, too. She drew a big cheer from the capacity crowd waiting for the start of a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race.

In May, Patrick became the first woman to lead a lap at the Indianapolis 500. She finished fourth, the best finish by a woman in the 89-year history of the race, and her second fourth in the IRL series.

"I know a lot of this started because I'm a chick in a race car," Patrick said. "Now it's turning into, 'Look what this rookie can do.'"

Two of Patrick's Rahal Letterman teammates qualified right behind her.

Buddy Rice, last year's race champion, will start on the outside front after qualifying at 214.65 mph. Vitor Meira was third at 214.548 mph, followed in the top 10 by Tomas Scheckter, Darren Manning, Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Scott Sharp and Sam Hornish Jr.

Last year, Rice won the pole and then held off Meira by .0051 seconds to win the second-closest race in IRL history.

It was the first 1-2-3 qualifying by one team since Scheckter, Rice and Eddie Cheever did it at Michigan in 2002 for Eddie Cheever Red Bull Racing.


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