Danica Patrick edges Trevor Bayne to win the pole for the DRIVE4COPD 300.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Danica Patrick captured the first pole of her NASCAR career during Nationwide Series qualifying for Saturday’s DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway.
Patrick posted a 182.741 mph lap, making her the second woman in the history of the Nationwide Series to start on the pole and the first to win a NASCAR pole at Daytona.
“I really wanted to get the pole for Tony Eury Jr.,” said Patrick of her crew chief on the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. “He’s never been on the pole here at Daytona and he builds some really good superspeedway cars. For me to be able to push the pedal and get that done makes me feel really good.”
Defending Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne, who was just .007 seconds shy of the mark set by Patrick, will be starting on the outside pole.
With three previous starts at DIS in the Nationwide Series – and six starts overall – Patrick’s confidence has increased at the 2.5-mile tri-oval.
“That’s part of why I came here so often,” Patrick said. “I want to be good at tracks that have important races and this is the most important one of them all. From an exposure perspective and from an event perspective, this is the biggest one. I want to come back to Daytona again and again to get good here.
“As far as a breakthrough in the summer race last year, it was a much better race than I had at any point,” continued Patrick about the July Subway Jalapeno 250. “We legitimately led a bunch of laps and ran really strong. It was a mental breakthrough. It was the first time I ever felt like, ‘I’m going to win this race, let’s get this done.’ I had all the winning mentality you need to have and you feel when it gets to that point. For me, it was more about how I felt in that moment and the difference you feel when you’re in a position to win.”
Rounding out the top five are Elliott Sadler (182.671), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (182.593) and series rookie Austin Dillon (182.411).
For more information on tickets for the 54th annual Daytona 500 and Sprint FANZONE/Pre-Race access, race fans can go online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com
or call 1-800-PITSHOP.
If you are unable to attend in person, be sure to tune in to the Daytona 500 on FOX on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 1 p.m. ET.
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