NASCAR »

Nationwide: Danica Patrick wins Daytona pole

Danica Patrick bounced back from Thursday's huge Gatorade Duel crash to claim pole position for Saturday's Drive4COPD Nationwide Series race at Daytona.
Sometimes the media obsession with Danica Patrick goes laughably over the top; but it's hard to argue that for once, the media meltdown over Danica at Daytona isn't actually justified.

On Thursday she was the focus of attention for being on the receiving end of the first hard race wreck of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. As she walked away sore but unharmed from a frightening head-on impact with the infield SAFER barrier, everyone was wondering whether this would shake her confidence going into the weekend's Cup and Nationwide races.

Patrick answered the only way she knew how - on the track - and as emphatically as anyone possibly could, by sweeping pole position for Saturday's Drive4COPD Nationwide Series season opener on the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway, her first series outing as a full-time NASCAR driver.

Danica Patrick's time of 49.250s (182.741mph) was seven-thousandths of a second ahead of Trevor Bayne, which means that Patrick is the first female driver to claim pole in a Nationwide event since Shawna Robinson at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March 1994.

But as far as Patrick was concerned, the biggest upside of clinching pole position was nothing to do with the record books, but about the edge it gives her on pit road for the race.

"No more wondering where my pit is with a sea of pit signs!" was her first thought. "It's nice to start at front of the pack so there will be a lot less chance of problems," she added, while stressing that it wouldn't affect the team's race strategy.

As the 35th of 50 drivers to set their qualifying time, Patrick had to watch on expecting to be knocked off the top at any moment by the remaining 15 runners.

"It seemed like a hundred, didn't it?" she said. "One of the engineers was writing down lap times as he heard them, and he was like: 'All right, we dodged that bullet,'" she continued. "I definitely didn't know it was the pole until the last car crossed the line."

Even Bayne didn't begrudge ceding pole position to Danica on this occasion.

“It's so cool for her to start off her season that way,” said Bayne. “She's looking for that boost. With her running full-time, that's the kind of momentum you need to build on."




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Danica Patrick speaking at Daytona. [Photo credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Danica Patrick, driver of the #7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 24, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, leads the field in a restart during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville at Road America on August 29, 2015 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in ninth place Saturday night, August 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Regan Smith, driver of the #7 Nationwide Children`s Hospital Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Nationwide Children`s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 15, 2015 in Lexington, Ohio. (Picture Credit: Jonathan Moore/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet, Tony Stewart, co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, Sam Marson and Dave Marson, founders of Nature`s Bakery, pose for a photo opportunity after announcing a multiyear deal partnership during a press conference on August 18, 2015 in Kannapolis, North Carolina. The partnership will begin with the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for Stewart-Haas Racing)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Chevrolet, and Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 16, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 16, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Chevrolet SS, finishes in fourth place Sunday, August 16, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, finishes in third place Sunday, August 16, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Regan Smith, driver of the #7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet at New Hampshire on July 7, 2014. (Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Regan Smith, driver of the #7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet at Chicago on July 18, 2014. (Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Regan Smith, driver of the #7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet at Daytona International Speedway on 30 May 2015. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Regan Smith, driver of the #7 Nationwide Children`s Hospital Chevrolet, Alex Tagliani, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, and Chris Buescher driver of the #60 Zest Ford, drive during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Nationwide Children`s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 15, 2015 in Lexington, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, races Brian Scott, driver of the #2 Shore Lodge Chevrolet, during the Nationwide Children`s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 15, 2015 in Lexington, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Zest Ford, and Alex Tagliani, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford lead the pack during the start of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Nationwide Children`s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 15, 2015 in Lexington, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Moore/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #33 Rheem/Young Supply Company Chevrolet, races Ryan Blaney, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Careers for Vets Ford, during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Careers for Veterans 200 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fourth position Friday, August 14, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Dillon is 21st in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2015 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.