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Danica Patrick wins Daytona 500 pole

Danica Patrick secured another slice of history for herself on Sunday, by becoming the first ever female driver to win a pole position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series.
Danica Patrick managed to deliver on the hype by clinching pole position for next weekend's Daytona 500 season-opener to the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. Jeff Gordon put the #24 alongside the GoDaddy.com #10, the fourth time Gordon has started on the front row in the event in his Cup career.

It's the first time that a female driver has ever claimed pole position for a Sprint Cup race. Patrick had previously become the second female driver to claim a pole in NASCAR's second-tier championship by starting from pole in last year's Nationwide Series race at Daytona. The only other female polesitter in Nationwide history was Shawna Robinson in 1994.

"Everything seemed pretty smooth, I didn't notice anything that threw me offline or made me move," she said of her qualifying laps. "The car moves around through the corner a little bit, it's hard to keep a perfect arc so you don't hit the apron."

It seemed as though her run might have benefited from some well-timed assistance from the weather conditions.

"Coming off of two, I felt like the car felt bound up. I let it out a little bit more than I would have. If that was wind, I don't know," she said. "But that was something that felt a little bit different compared to yesterday."

Patrick was quick to give the lion's share of the credit for her achievement to her crew chief Tony Gibson and his team who had build and set-up the car for her qualifying effort.

"I appreciate the recognition, but it really falls, as I think I said before I went out on the track, 90 per cent on Tony and his guys, everybody that gives me the car to go out there and be fast, and maybe 10 per cent on me," she said. "All I have to do is think about going out there, being smooth, not letting the car bind up, running on that yellow line.

"It's really amazing how much effort is put into a qualifying car for Daytona, for the 500, and really only the front row is what sticks for Sunday," she continued. "It's nice that all that hard work can pay off and that we can give ourselves that opportunity to lead the pack down into the tri-oval for the green flag of the Daytona 500."

For a time it looked like Patrick was going to be part of a Stewart-Haas Racing lock-out at the top. Team boss Tony Stewart had been the first to run on Sunday afternoon and his time was good enough to keep him on provisional pole until Patrick's qualifying laps. She was the eight of 45 drivers to make her single-car speed trial.

"The pole didn't matter to me personally," said Stewart, shrugging aside questions about whether he was put out by being knocked off pole by his rookie employee. "It was more as an owner, wanting Danica to be in the top two today. That way she's locked in, we don't have to worry about what happens on Thursday."




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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, poses with crew chief Alan Gustafson after winning the Front Row Award at qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, poses after winning the pole award for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, speaks to the media after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, celebrates with crew chief Tony Gibson after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/ Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, holds his daughter, Lydia Sunday, November 22, 2015 before final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Johnson and other Jeff Gordon teammates at Hendrick Motorsports wore tribute hats to honor the retiring Chevy driver prior to the start of the race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to a sixth place finish Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Gordon finishes third in the Chase for the Cup Championship. This was Gordon`s last race as a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. He has made 796 consecutive Cup Series starts, earned 93 wins, and 81 poles - all behind the wheel of Chevrolets. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place, and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision finishes in twelfth place Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. This Chevrolet drivers finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th (respectively) in the Chase of the Cup Championship. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing Team battled back from a bad re-start after the first caution of the race to finish 17th in the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Campbell Marketing)
Series championship contenders Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Former racing driver Mario Andretti, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton pose during pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Crest Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fourth position Friday, November 20, 2015 Sunday`s final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, qualifies for thirteenth position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Harvick will be joined by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, qualifies for eleventh position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Truex, Jr. will be joined by Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fifth position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Gordon will be joined by Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. Sunday will be Gordon`s last race as a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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