Secures pole at Daytona
By Aidan Mouellic, Contributor
Danica Patrick had already made history when she became one of the only women to race at the elite level in motorsports. But now she’s made history again as the first woman to get a pole position in a NASCAR sprint cup race.
The 30-year-old driver, who drives for the GoDaddy racing team, took victory in qualifying for Daytona 500 on February 17 with a lap speed of 196.434 mph, beating such favourites as Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart. Patrick has previously raced in British open wheel racing, the open wheel Indy Car series, and was the first female to win an Indy Car race at the Indy Japan 300 in 2008.
While Patrick has been a controversial staple in the male-dominated sport, with some people saying she has no place in the sport, others, such as venerable favourite Stewart, have claimed that she is good for the sport and brings fresh eyes to the races. There is no doubt that Patrick has used her position as a female driver to raise her profile and make her a more marketable star. She has appeared in widespread ad campaigns and has even dabbled into modeling as well. The people who have long claimed that she is just a pretty face behind a steering wheel can no longer doubt her talent—she has a growing résumé of racing achievements and has beaten many of the top male talents in her sport.
Sunday’s action-packed Daytona 500 was led off by Patrick on the pole and was eventually won by Jimmie Johnson. Out of 43 racers, Patrick finished in eighth.