Although today's IRL event isn't quite in her backyard, it's close enough for Danica Patrick.

She grew up in Roscoe, Ill., about 130 miles from Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, and expects a large contingent of friends and relatives at the Indy 300 as she attempts to win her first IRL race.

She's in good position after yesterday's qualifying.

Patrick took the pole after fellow rookie Ryan Briscoe's car failed a post-race inspection, dropping him from first to the 23rd and final position and erasing a speed of 217.133 mph. Details of the infractions were not clear.

Patrick turned a lap of 215.970 mph, took her third pole and tied Tomas Scheckter's IRL rookie record set in 2002.

"It would be special -- very, very special," Patrick said. "To have your first win in your home town would be nice."

Buddy Rice joined Patrick in the front row with a lap of 215.799 mph. Scheckter (215.731) is third, with Sam Hornish Jr. (215.717) fourth and Dan Wheldon (215.484) fifth. Tony Kanaan is 13th (214.402).

But there's more to this race than the Patrick angle.

Points leader Dan Wheldon is looking for an IRL-record sixth season victory, his first championship and to become the first driver to clinch in the third-to-last race.

* FORMULA ONE: Kimi Raikkonen won a front-row spot for the Belgian Grand Prix behind teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, boosting his chances of preventing Fernando Alonso from becoming Formula One's youngest world champion today.

Montoya edged his McLaren-Mercedes teammate for the pole position during qualifying Saturday in Spa-Francorchamps. Alonso was fifth fastest but will move up to the second row because Renault teammate Giancarlo Fisichella was penalized 10 places after replacing his engine earlier in the day.

Raikkonen must finish within four points of Alonso to prevent him from winning the world title.