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Danica Patrick Wins Daytona 500 Pole, Becomes First Woman To Win A Cup Series Pole

Danica Patrick
Nick Laham, Getty Images

Danica Patrick won the pole of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, becoming the first woman in NASCAR history to win the pole position of a Cup Series event. Patrick turned in a qualifying speed of 196.434, besting fellow drivers Jeff Gordon, Trevor Bayne, Ryan Newman and teammate Tony Stewart.

Gordon was the only other driver to exceed 196 mph. He and Patrick will be on the front row for next Sunday’s Daytona 500, the first points race of NASCAR’s 2013 Sprint Cup season. The remainder of the field for the race will be decided through qualifying races in Daytona on Thursday.

Patrick zipped around the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway in 45.817 seconds. While she became the first woman to win a pole in any Cup Series event, Patrick won the pole for the Nationwide event at Daytona last year.

Patrick had the best lap — 196.220 mph — during Saturday’s practice, while Stewart had the second-fastest run.

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