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2005 was the year that Danicamania hit the sports world as the Danica Patrick became the first woman ever to lead the Indianapolis 500. Patrick paced 19 laps at Indy and would finish fourth after a wild final 20 laps, equaling her best effort of the year, which also came at Motegi. She led qualifying at Kansas, Kentucky and Chicago to tie for the series lead in poles and became the team’s second driver to be honored as series’ Rookie of the Year. (Kenny Brack). But that success didn’t carry over to race day often enough and she finished 12th in the final season standings. Buddy Rice earned the team’s best finish when he placed second at Infineon Raceway, but his bid to win back-to-back Indy 500 titles was thwarted when he suffered a back injury while practicing at Indy. Rice earned a pair of top-five finishes and four top-10s but finished 15th in the points. Rice’s injury paved the way for Kenny Brack’s return to Indy as the 1999 500 winner replaced Rice and set the fastest qualifying time of the month. Unfortunately his flying run came on the second week of qualifying, with left him 23rd on the grid, and he retired early with trouble and finished 26th. Vitor Meira had the best overall season of the Rahal Letterman trio, finishing seventh in points on the strength of seven top-fives and 11 top-10 placings. He finished second at Indianapolis and Kentucky and paced the team in laps led with 160.