RLR announce Patrick

Rahal Letterman Racing has signed Danica Patrick to its IRL IndyCar Series line-up, giving way to further speculation about the open-wheel future of Kenny Brack

RLR announce Patrick

Team co-owner Bobby Rahal has extended his squad to three-cars with the inclusion of Patrick, the 22-year-old former Toyota Atlantic driver, along with returnees Buddy Rice and Vitor Meira during a press conference at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday.

Brack, who hasn't raced for Rahal since sustaining severe injuries in a crash at the 2003 IRL season finale, has recently competed in selected sports-car events. He participated as a member of the Swedish team in the Race of Champions Nations Cup last weekend in France.

"A three-car full-season IndyCar Series program is the most ambitious undertaking we have had at Rahal Letterman Racing in quite some time," said Rahal. "I have always been a proponent of a multi-car team, but we didn't always have the resources or the driver talent to expand to this level.

"Certainly the success we enjoyed at Indianapolis last year with three cars showed us the benefits of a multi-car program. There are challenges with adding a third car and we had to carefully evaluate where we allocated our personnel. Last year was a phenomenal season for our team, but with Buddy Rice, Vitor Meira and Danica Patrick I see greater accomplishments ahead."

Rice, who was hired as a replacement for Brack, won the Indianapolis 500 and two other IRL races in 2004. Meira, who competed in 14 races last season for Rahal, also was impressive, winning the pole at Milwaukee and twice finishing second.

Patrick finished third last season in Atlantics, her first season in the series.

"Since I first started racing when I was just 12 years old, my dream has always been to run the Indianapolis 500," said Patrick. "When I signed with Bobby in 2002 he told me to be patient, because this was a lengthy process designed to advance me to the highest levels of racing.

"Back then it was easy to say I could be patient, but as a driver you never want to settle to be happy with the status quo. Today all those years of hard work, moving to England at 16, all the sacrifices have paid off, because I am ready to race in the IRL IndyCar Series."

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