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She improved on this to secure fifth the following season, which saw her finish a career-high third at the Indianapolis 500, the best performance by any woman at the race.Patrick's overall form declined during 2010, but she still managed two second-places at oval tracks before leaving Indy Car after the 2011 season to focus on stock car racing full-time.Multiple firsts for women in American auto racing, including first to win an Indy Car Series race, first to clinch a pole position in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and the most starts, laps led, and top-tens in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.Highest finish by a woman in the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500.Patrick was accepted into the Indianapolis-based Lyn St.James Foundation Driver Development Program in 1996.Born to a working-class family in Beloit, Wisconsin, Patrick began karting at the age of ten and achieved early success by winning her class in the World Karting Association Grand National Championship three times in the mid-1990s.She dropped out of high school with her parents' permission in 1998, and moved to the United Kingdom to further her career.
In 2008, Patrick followed up this victory to place sixth overall in the drivers' standings.
Patrick had a difficult season as the Mygale cars she drove did not suit her smooth driving style, and was outpaced by her teammates.
Ford later terminated her program as they suspected the capital they gave her was being misused and felt she was not getting enough technical support.
She first drove in the Indy Car Series with Rahal Letterman Racing in 2005 and took three pole positions, equaling Tomas Scheckter's record of poles in a rookie season.
She was named the Rookie of the Year for both the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and the 2005 Indy Car Series.