Veteran Jon Fogarty and female racer Danica Patrick took a pole apiece as the Toyota Atlantic Championship geared up for a rare double-header in Portland.

Despite having his share of mechanical challenges on the opening day of practice and qualifying, Fogarty was able to get the most out of his car when it mattered most. The 2002 series champion suffered gearbox problems in the morning practice session , but he still wound up posting the fastest time in practice. The mechanical gremlin came in a different form during the afternoon qualifying, but the result was the same.

Fogarty bent his left rear push rod early in the 30-minute qualifying session for the first of the two Atlantic races, but not before he carded a time of 1min 08.404secs that would not be touched during the remainder of qualifying.

"I could have gone back out again, but we decided not to and to save the set of tyres," Fogarty revealed, "I knew it was important to get a quick time early."

While Fogarty's crew rushed to repair the rod, it turned out they didn't need to hurry. Aided by a late red flag that limited the opportunities to top Fogarty's time, no driver was able to wrestle away the pole.

Patrick, who entered the weekend second in the championship hunt, looked to have the second spot in qualifying secured before the late red flag that was caused by a turn twelve accident involving Rahal team-mate Chris Festa and series points leader Ronnie Bremer. Less than two minutes remained in qualifying after the clean-up was completed, but it proved to be just enough time for first-year pilot Andrew Ranger to steal the other front row spot.

"My engineers told me I was fourth and I had one more lap," the Canadian said, "I pushed pretty hard. I'm pretty happy for that to start second."

Patrick equalled her best-ever qualifying position in third following Ranger's late run, and will start from the third spot for the second time this season.

"It was a real good qualifying session," she admitted, "My engineer made a good call putting on new tyres, and I'm probably just as happy starting third. Just being on the inside is good."

Rookie Jonathan Bomarito had an impressive session, qualifying a career-best fourth for Transnet Racing while, for the fourth consecutive time, Bryan Sellers qualified inside the top five. Fogarty's team-mate Alex Figge qualified sixth, while defending Portland champion, Ryan Dalziel, could manage only seventh.

After his late-session dust-up, rookie Bremer lost his fastest time in qualifying but still managed the eighth-best lap, while Alex Garcia starts ninth, ahead of Festa.

Patrick later took her first career Atlantic pole, topping the times on Saturday morning. The Team Rahal driver took advantage of cooler track temperatures and saved her best for last, posting the top time of the weekend at 1min 07.155secs on her final lap of the 45-minute morning qualifying session.

"I think the biggest thing about this session was that it was cooler and Trans-Ams left a lot of bad rubber on the track," she revealed, "It was a matter of cleaning that off. Like Jon, we were set up for later in the run. I'm just so happy for my team most of all. They were here until 9pm - I left and had a nice dinner. They worked their butts off."

By winning the pole, Patrick becomes the first woman to start an open-wheel race on the point since Sarah Fisher accomplished the feat at Kentucky in 2002.

Fogarty added to his pole by qualifying second , while defending Portland champion Dalziel managed to improve on his Friday performance to claim third. The effort was a marked improvement for the young Scot as he qualified seventh yesterday for the first event of the weekend.

"It was a good battle," Fogarty admitted, "I don't think we compensated enough for the temperature change."

"We came here with our set-up from last year - and we absolutely sucked yesterday," Dalziel admitted, "Every time we've come here, it's been cool. It was hot yesterday and the car was absolutely awful. We made a lot of changes and it's much better."

Sellers was fourth and rookie Jonathan Bomarito rounded out the top five, trading places from Friday.