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Danica Patrick Indy Car is donated to IMS Museum
Danica Patrick in her Panoz 2005 IndyCar
Steve Snoddy/IRL
The 2005 edition of the Indianapolis 500 will live in the annals of IndyCar racing for as long as record books are written as Rahal Letterman Racing’s Danica Patrick became the first female driver ever to lead a lap at the fabled Memorial Day classic.

Now racing fans from around the world will have the opportunity to see the car that launched a phenomenon as the RLR IndyCar that Patrick piloted in the 2005 Indy 500 becomes part of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. The car was donated to the museum by its present owner Stanley Ross, who owns and maintains a number of historic race cars, including ones driven by RLR co-owner Bobby Rahal throughout his legendary career.

“I first heard about Danica through some of my vintage racing friends, and was particularly impressed by her showing at the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch,” Ross recalls. “So I worked with Rahal Letterman to provide some Atlantic cars from the team that my son, Malcolm, ran.  This got her started here, and when Bobby wanted to run her at Indy I jumped aboard to help with this car for her.  My aim was to put open wheeled racing back into the public's eye, and in this we succeeded. It was great fun being a part of this.”

The #16 Argent Mortgage Honda/GForce/Firestone debuted at the 2005 Indy 500 where Patrick first made history by qualifying fourth, setting a high-water mark for female drivers at Indianapolis. She became the first female to lead a lap when pit-stop cycles gave her the lead on Lap 56, but she would come back to pace 18 of the final 28 laps, battling fiercely with eventual race winner Dan Wheldon before finishing fourth. The result catapulted Patrick into the forefront of the national sportscape, and landed her on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

“It’s flattering to think that a car I drove is going to be on display at Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” Patrick said. “The 2005 Indianapolis 500 was an amazing race for me and was a milestone day in the history of the biggest race in the world. I’m glad fans will have a chance to relive that day and get a closer look at a car that played a significant role in my career and in the legend of the Indianapolis 500.”

The car made nine starts with Patrick at the wheel in 2005, making more history by earning pole positions at Kansas, Kentucky and Chicago. The car scored six top-10 finishes in its IndyCar history, including a seventh-place run in its final outing with Jeff Simmons at the wheel last season at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma.

“Rahal Letterman Racing has had a number of great days here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and we are very pleased to be able to give something back to the heritage of this great track,” said team co-owner Bobby Rahal. “This car and the talented young lady driving it certainly earned their places in the museum with what was accomplished in 2005.”

The car will be placed on display in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, which is on the grounds of the track. The museum can be accessed by entering the grounds through the main tunnel off at 4790 W. 16th Ave in Speedway, Indiana. For more information on the speedway, visit www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/museumRLR PR

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