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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."




Related Pictures

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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)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet SS, stops in his pit on his way to a fifth place finish Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Elliott takes over the #24 car from retired driver Jeff Gordon.  (Photo by Ashley R Dickerson for Chevy Racing)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, drives during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 1, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, signs the Coors Light Pole Award backdrop after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 1, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 1, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s / Superman Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s / Superman Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 American Ethanol Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 18, 2016 in Fontana, California.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 American Ethanol Chevrolet, poses for a photo after winning the Coors Light Pole Award during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 18, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS SS, qualifies for second position Friday, March 18, 2016 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Harvick will be joined on the front row by pole setter Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 American Ethanol Chevrolet SS. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 American Ethanol Chevrolet SS, captures the pole position Friday, March 18, 2016 for a front row start in Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Dillon will be joined on the front row with Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS who qualified second. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 American Ethanol Chevrolet SS, with team owner and grandfather Richard Childress after capturing the pole position Friday, March 18, 2016 for a front row start in Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Dillon will be joined on the front row with Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS who qualified second. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)

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