Danica Patrick suffered a rough crash yesterday during a preliminary round at the Daytona 500, but the GoDaddy.com driver bounced back to take the pole position for the DRIVE4COPD 300 Nationwide Series race. Patrick is the second woman in NASCAR history to take the pole position in one of the top three national series.
Shawna Robinson was the first to accomplish the feat in 1994 whenshe took the pole in a Nationwide Series race in Atlanta.
“I don’t think about it from a girl perspective. It was about being the best driver, not the best girl.”
The New York Times reports that Patrick topped a field of 50 cars at the Daytona International Speedway. Patrick posted a lap time of 49.250 seconds to clock a speed of 182.741 miles per hour. Trevor Bayne, who won the Daytona 500 last year, finished in second.
Patrick’s pole position is surprising, not because she’s new to NASCAR, but because her primary car was destroyed in her crash yesterday. Patrick joked at the time that maybe it was a “blessing in disguise” and that maybe her backup car was really faster. Well, it looks like she may have been right.
“I was thinking about how disappointing the end of the day was yesterday and how happy it can be 24 hours later. It was a good turn of events. It’s always good to have something that brings your spirits up.”
The pole position will give Patrick the top spot on the grid tomorrow, but it will also put a little more pressure on her shoulder. Patrick knows now that her car is fast enough to win, now it’s up to her to drive it to victory.
“I got much more nervous because I know my car is fast. And when you sit on the pole, you’re the fastest car. So if you don’t win the race, then I just wasted the fasted car. So yes, it adds a lot of pressure and now I feel nervous.”
Do you think Danica Patrick will be able to win tomorrow?