Danica Patrick has become the first woman to take pole position at the Daytona 500. After four years in NASCAR the Irish American racer has also become the first woman to clinch a pole in any race in NASCAR’s premier series, the Sprint Cup.
Driving at 196 miles per hour, she beat 37 drivers.
Patrick told ABC News, “I was brought up to be the fastest driver, not the fastest girl.
“That’s how I’ve always approached my racing career. I’ve been lucky enough to make history and be the first woman to do many things. We have a lot more history to make and we are excited to do it.”
“That’s a huge accomplishment,” team owner and fellow driver Tony Stewart said.
“It’s not like it’s been 15 or 20 years she’s been trying to do this. It’s her second trip to Daytona here in a Cup car. She’s made history in the sport. That’s stuff that we’re proud of being a part of with her. It’s something she should have a huge amount of pride in.”
She also beat four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon. He came in second in the Dayton 500.
“It’s great to be part of history,” Gordon said. “I can say I was the fastest guy today. I think we all know how popular she is, what this will do for our sport. Congratulations to her. Proud to be on there with her.”
Patrick was the first woman to lead laps in the Indianapolis 500, and her third-place finish in 2009 at the Brickyard was the best showing ever by a woman. She is also the only woman to have ever won an IndyCar race.
Here’s ABC’s report: