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Danica Patrick wins Daytona 500 pole

The team's third driver Ryan Newman was the 14th to go out on track, and he was able to pip Stewart and lay early claim to the other front row spot alongside Patrick. That status quo survived assaults by the next 15 drivers, until finally Jeff Gordon was able to dislodge Newman for second place. Newman was subsequently bumped another spot by 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne, who was third fastest in qualifying.

"To have three cars in the top five like that, just really, really appreciative and excited that we were able to bring three consistent cars down like this," said the proud team co-owner after qualifying. "I'm proud of my teams, my drivers, all of our crews.

"I think all three of us ran great laps. But I don't know if she did something a little different or if it was Tony Gibson and her guys, but as a package they did a great job," continued Stewart, referring to Patrick's crew chief. "Her car, she just did a really good job of carrying speed off of turn two, where she made all of her time up was down the backstretch. Carrying that speed off of two is a big key to that."

Stewart also added a quip that made reference to Danica's recently-revealed relationship with Roush Fenway racer Rickey Stenhouse Jr.

"This will probably be a sound byte for you guys: I think Danica has two boyfriends, she has Ricky and she has Tony Gibson!" he laughed. "They are all but holding hands in the shop when they're there every day together. It's good for me to see as an owner, I like to see that chemistry."

Stenhouse ended up with the 12th fastest time of the day. However, just like Bayne, Newman, Stewart and the rest of the field, Stenhouse will still have to race for his actual starting grid position in the midweek Duel events; only Patrick and Gordon are actually locked in to their grid spots at this point, provided that they don't end up wrecking their race cars in the Duel and end up being sent to to the back next weekend for resorting to back-up cars.

"I'm going to do my best to keep it clean," said Patrick of her plan for how to tackle the Daytona 500 next week. "Keep it out of trouble, get a feel for the traffic throughout the day, and hopefully put myself in a position, position-wise and knowledge-wise, to do a good job and bring it home where it started at the end of Sunday.

"But I have a lot to learn, too," she added. "I mean, I have Jeff Gordon starting next to me. I have, oh my God, a herd of them behind me. I'm a rookie and I am going to be learning as much as I can for 499 or maybe till the last 10 laps.

"When you implement your plan, it depends where you are. Hopefully at the end of 500 we're rolling and we have a chance," she summed up. "There's so many pit stops, so much that could happen, so many ways that it could play out, there's a lot of drivers that taste victory but don't get there. You just have a love for it."

Full qualifying times.




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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