Danica Patrick makes NASCAR history

(CNN) - After practicing with the fastest speed on Saturday, second-year driver Danica Patrickand the No. 10 car made history when she ran a 196.434 mph lap in Sunday's qualifying session, securing the pole for the 2013 Daytona 500 on Feb. 24.  

There will be no more questioning her driving skills. 

Patrick has become the first woman in the history of NASCAR to win the pole for any race, and she will lead the field to the green flag in the biggest race on the NASCAR schedule. The previous record was held by Janet Guthrie, who qualified ninth in 1977 at Talladega and Bristol.

This is a feat that many thought was impossible, but Patrick deserves immense credit and respect for not only performing well but also for sticking with the sport through the struggles since making the jump to NASCAR from the IndyCar series.

The female star qualified in first place, followed by NASCAR veteran Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 car. Gordon's second-place qualifying time will result in the former champion starting on the front row in the Daytona 500.

With Patrick and Gordon set as the No. 1 and No. 2 starting drivers for next Sunday, the majority of the field's starting order for the race will be determined by the Gatorade Duels this Thursday.

There will be two races on Thursday afternoon (the Gatorade Duels), and the top 15 from each race will have the chance to compete in the Daytona 500 next Sunday.

The drivers with the four best qualifying times who did not finish in the top 15 of their respective duels will also be allowed to race Sunday, as well as the last seven spots being filled by previous champions and cars with enough owners points to make the race.

Patrick has made history in qualifying, but let's see how brightly the star can shine on Sunday.



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