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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)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, passes Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, to take the lead and win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with his wife DeLana and son Keelan in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, leads Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, pose for a photo prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Napa Auto Parts Chevrolet, wins the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

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