Danica Patrick: First Woman To Win Nascar Pole

Danica Patrick: First Woman To Win Nascar Pole

Nascar racing driver Danica Patrick has become the first woman to achieve pole position for a cup race.

She covered the 2.5-mile (4km) superspeedway in Florida's Daytona Beach in 45.817 seconds, averaging 196.4mph.

The winning time secured her entry to the prestigious Daytona 500 next week.

Securing top spot marks the biggest achievement of her four-year Nascar career.

The previous highest female qualifier in a cup race was Janet Guthrie. She started ninth in two races in 1977.

"That's a really big deal because qualifying for the Daytona 500 is a really interesting thing," Patrick said.

"If you're anywhere but the front row, it's really hard to see on race day.

"Hopefully, there are good things to come."

She had to wait for around two hours as 37 fellow drivers tried to take her spot.

Only four-time champion Jeff Gordon came close, and won the only other guaranteed spot in the season-opening race.

"It's great to be part of history," Gordon said. "I can say I was the fastest guy today."

The rest of the field will be set in duel qualifying races on Thursday.

"We say it's not really us, but she's got to do her part, too," team owner and fellow driver Tony Stewart said. "She did a really good job. I'm proud of all of us."

Patrick was considered the front-runner for pole position after turning in the fastest laps in practice on Saturday.

The former IndyCar driver has mostly struggled in three Nascar seasons.

Her best finish in 10 cup races is 17th, and she has one top-five in 58 starts in the second-tier Nationwide Series.