2005 IndyCar Series season
The 2005 IRL IndyCar Series season began on Sunday, March 6 and ended on Sunday, October 16. The season, which consisted of 17 races, was the 10th season of the IRL since it split from CART in 1995.
Dan Wheldon was the dominant driver in the series in 2005, winning six races, including the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500, setting the record for most victories in an IRL season. However, the big story of the season was that of Rahal Letterman Racing's Danica Patrick, the fourth woman to compete in the Indy 500 and the first to lead a lap.
She would eventually wind up in fourth. Danica's presence was a boost to the IRL's television ratings. The Indy 500's ratings were up 40% from the year before and subsequent races also saw a boost in ratings.
Rahal-Letterman Racing signed Meira to a three-year contract in 2005, with backing from longtime supporter, Johns Manville and Menards. One notable race finish during the year was a second place to Dan Wheldon at the Indianapolis 500. Meira gave Rahal-Letterman Racing their best final point standing finish of seventh as well as recording seven top five and eleven top ten finishes for the team.
After losing a majority of the funds for the #17 car, Rahal-Letterman needed a driver who had sponsorship with them. For Meira, that meant losing his ride to Paul Dana, who brought Ethanol sponsorship.
The season was the first ever to introduce road courses and street circuits when the series held races at the Streets of St. Petersburg, Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen International, where the series previously known to have held events exclusively on oval tracks. Wheldon also became the series' first road/street course winner when he won in St. Petersburg.
Each of the game's four race tracks is a straight lined with trees. The shortest, simplest course is Watkins Glen. Brands Hatch is about twice as long as Watkins Glen, and has one bridge. Le Mans is about three times as long as Watkins Glen, and has two bridges. Monaco is about five times as long as Watkins Glen, and has three bridges.