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Danica Patrick will start from the Daytona 500 pole position after posting the fastest qualifying speed for the Great American ...
Race on Sunday (February 17) and becoming the first woman to take the pole for a NASCAR Sprint Cup event. Patrick, who ran a partial Sprint Cup program last year, signaled she was ready to race full-time against the big boys of American stock car racing by clocking 196.434 mph (316.11 kph) around Daytona International Speedway.
Tags:reuters,Daytona 500,Janet Guthrie,jeff gordon,Ricky Stenhouse,united states
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PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL SHOWS: DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES. (FEBRUARY 17, 2013) (ORIGINALLY 4:3 - MUTE- STILL PHOTOS) (REUTERS-ACCESS ALL) 1. STILL PHOTO OF DANICA PATRICK CLIMBING OUT OF RACE CAR AFTER QUALIFYING FIRST FOR DAYTONA 500 2. STILL PHOTO OF PATRICK WITH HER CREW CHIEF TONY GIBSON HOLDING DAYTONA 500 POLE POSITION TROPHY 3. STILL PHOTO OF PATRICK HUGGING CREW CHIEF GIBSON 4. STILL PHOTO OF PATRICK AND COORS LIGHT GIRL PUTTING DAYTONA 500 POLE POSITION STICKER ON HER CAR 5. STILL PHOTO OF PATRICK STANDING NEXT TO HER RACE CAR STORY: Danica Patrick will start from the Daytona 500 pole position after posting the fastest qualifying speed for the Great American Race on Sunday (February 17) and becoming the first woman to take the pole for a NASCAR Sprint Cup event. Patrick, who ran a partial Sprint Cup program last year, signaled she was ready to race full-time against the big boys of American stock car racing by clocking 196.434 mph (316.11 kph) around Daytona International Speedway. Four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon joined Patrick on the front row for next Sunday's race, joking afterwards that he was at least the fastest man. Patrick's top speed was the fastest qualifying effort at Daytona since 1990. The qualifying triumph marked another in a growing list of firsts for Patrick, who became the only woman to win an IndyCar race in 2008 before jumping to NASCAR, the United States' most popular motor sports series. Janet Guthrie had the previous best qualifying performance by a woman when she qualified ninth for Cup races at Talladega and Bristol speedways in 1977. After posting the fastest times in Saturday's practice, all eyes were on Patrick as her number 10 Chevrolet took to the sun-kissed super speedway. The eighth driver of 45 attempting qualify for next Sunday's race, Patrick held her nerve and could not hide her delight at holding onto top spot. While winning the Daytona pole is a career highlight for Patrick, starting from first on the grid will not be a new experience. She started from the pole position for three races during her IndyCar career and last season started first in a Nationwide Series race, NASCAR's second tier series. Already one of America's best known athletes, Patrick is sure to be in the spotlight for during the buildup to next Sunday's main event. The popular driver, who is as well known for her GoDaddy sponsorship, racy commercials and photo shoots, has made tabloid headlines for her romance with fellow NASCAR rookie Ricky Stenhouse.