DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Danica Patrick keeps making history.
Patrick, who has made headlines since Speedweeks began while fielding questions about her relationship with fellow Cup rookie Ricky Stenhouse Jr., has made headlines again — for doing something on the track.
She became the first woman to win the pole position for the Daytona 500 — and a Sprint Cup event — on Sunday when the rookie posted a lap of 196.434 mph.
"Pride. I'm proud of all the hard work that goes into making a pole car," Patrick said. "I'm happy for them (the team). It was a fast Chevy. ... If you're anywhere but the front row, it's hard to see on race day. ... This just speaks volumes about Stewart-Haas Racing. I thought we were going to be 1-2-3 for a while."
Janet Guthrie qualified ninth in 1977 at Talladega Superspeedway and Bristol Motor Speedway, which marks the previous best starting spot for a woman in Cup history. There have been only two previous poles for women in NASCAR history. Patrick here, and Shawna Robinson in a Nationwide race in Atlanta in 1994.