Danica-mania envelops Indianapolis
INDIANAPOLIS — Danica Patrick was making her first qualification attempt in May, and the grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway resembled one massive game of freeze-tag.
Along pit row, competing teams stopped what they were doing and turned eyes to the timing stands.
In the stands along the straightaway, fans stood and peered toward the fourth turn, waiting for Patrick's black-and-blue racer.
In the infield, out of sight but not sound, the young and old alike stared at huge video screens and waited for track announcer Bob Jenkins to offer lap-by-lap speeds.
And in the executive suites, top officials of what now is simply called the IndyCar Series were not-so-subtly rooting on the young woman who, it seems, could finish what the unification of the IRL and Champ Car Series started — bring plenty of positive attention back to North American open-wheel racing.
- Birthdate: March 25, 1982
- Age: 26
- Hometown: Roscoe, Ill.
- Residence: Phoenix, Ariz.
- Height/weight: 5-1, 105
- Husband: Paul Hospenthal
- Website: danicaracing.com
- IndyCar starts: 51
- IndyCar wins: 1, at Japan on April 19
Patrick's speed three Saturdays ago was fast enough — at 225.197 mph for the four, 21/2-mile laps — to put her, briefly, on the pole for the 92nd Indianapolis 500.
While it did not hold up, she'll start today's Indy 500 in the middle of the second row, between Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan and behind Scott Dixon, Dan Wheldon and Ryan Briscoe.
At the least, IndyCar racing has a buzz. And if Patrick should win the 500, the series will move back to the top of the sports pages — above even the showcase NASCAR event in Charlotte that will unfold later in the day.More here
Ladies first? Tune in and see. ESPN or ABC starting about 15 minutes ago was pre-race stuff, so you still have time. (9:17 AM)