According to CNN on Monday, Danica Patrick has landed herself in the top spot to start the Daytona 500 and that has earned her a place in the history books. Patrick is the first woman to win a pole position at any NASCAR top-division race and what grander way to put her stamp on the sport than at Daytona?
Patrick was apparently the favorite to win the pole and she certainly felt the pressure. She states, “I feel more nervous when there is more on the line. It was, ‘Just don’t make a stupid mistake.’” The thirty year old gave her crew the credit stating that driving a qualifying lap at Daytona consists primarily of running the engine pretty much wide open.
Crew chief Tony Gibson made sure balance it out by evenly distributing the credit and stated that he was proud of her; adding that “she didn’t falter.”
Chevrolet represents the top two spots with Jeff Gordon finishing second in the qualifiers to earn him a position next to Patrick in the front row.
CNN reports that because Patrick only appeared in ten Sprint Cup starts last year, 2013 marks her first full year as a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver.
Therefore, according to NASCAR Patrick still qualifies as a rookie for the 2013 season. Patrick is the first rookie to win the Daytona 500 pole since Jimmie Johnson in 2002.
One thing is for certain, this girl is on fire and she plans on breaking more records in the days to come. Patrick told CNN that understanding the scope of her achievement "is something that happens down the road. In the moment, it's about thinking about what I need to do for next Sunday and trying to make some more history."
How do the guys feel about all the Danica Patrick frenzy? Three-time Daytona 500 winner Jeff Gordon accepts it with open arms stating, "This is great for the sport and the rest of us will benefit from it." Most importantly he added, "I'm proud to sit on the front row with her."
As Patrick presses on week after week attempting to reach every goal she has ever had, her accomplishments go beyond any race track as women from all over the world celebrate her achievements as they serve as a reminder that the sky is the limit.