Team Rahal's Danica Patrick finished the Toyota Atlantic season as she had begun it back in April, taking a career-best podium finish behind Michael Valiante.

Patrick finished second, with new team-mate Jon Fogarty fourth, in Sunday's Argent Mortgage 100k on the streets of downtown Miami, marking the second straight event that both Team Rahal cars finished in the top five.

Patrick started fifth in the Argent Mortgage Company car, but took second on the start by moving past Fogarty and ahead of Ryan Dalziel after pole sitter AJ Allmendinger was forced to pit prior to the green flag with mechanical troubles. After claiming the position, Patrick drove a flawless race to bring home her second podium of the season and her best Atlantic career finish.

"This feels awesome and it is a great way to finish the season - it shows how far this team has come," she said after the race, "We started on a high note with the podium at Monterrey and we ended with a podium here at Miami, but the real story and substance of the season is everything that happened in between.

"Over the last few races, we have been consistently in the top five. I think we have really gelled together as a team and, certainly, the two-car programme and the addition of Jon really helped. It is almost a shame the season has to end because we are really hitting our stride. The challenge before us now is to keep this momentum and build on it for next season."

Fogarty was second quickest in the morning warm-up, but lost ground on the start when he was caught behind Dalziel and fell to sixth. The out-going champion then used all of his guile to fight back to fourth, bringing home his second top-four result in a two-race stint with Team Rahal.

"I was really optimistic going into the race, but we got caught behind Dalziel on the start and I lost a couple of spots," he said, "The field is so even that it is hard to make up any kind of deficit - even if you are running a tenth or two-tenths faster, it takes a lot of laps to close the gap.

"I am pretty happy with how we did in the two races. I think I shook off some of the rust off and I think having a second car was beneficial to the programme. It was a great opportunity for me and I just want to thank Norwalk Furniture, Argent Mortgage Bobby Rahal and everyone at Team Rahal."

Valiante started third, but took the lead on the start and led all 55 laps en route to his third win of the season. Despite the win, however, Valiante was unable to catch Dalziel for second in the championship behind 2003 champion Allmendinger.

The season ended with Patrick finishing sixth in the championship, edging out Atlantic veteran Joey Hand by a single point.

 

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