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Danica Patrick Wins Pole for NASCAR's Daytona 500

NASCAR racer marks biggest moment in her career
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 17, 2013 3:28 PM CST
Danica Patrick Wins Pole for NASCAR's Daytona 500
Danica Patrick checks out her car during a practice session for the NASCAR Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, in Daytona Beach, Fla.   (Phelan M. Ebenhack)

(Newser) – Danica Patrick won the Daytona 500 pole today, becoming the first woman to secure the top spot for any Sprint Cup race. It was the biggest achievement of her four-year NASCAR career. Patrick went out eighth in the qualifying session and covered the 2 1/2-mile superspeedway in 45.817 seconds, averaging 196.434 mph. "Hopefully, there are good things to come," Patrick said.

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She waited about two hours as 37 fellow drivers tried to take her spot. Only four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon even came close to knocking her off. Gordon was the only other driver who topped 196 mph. He locked up the other guaranteed spot in next week's season-opening Daytona 500. "It's great to be part of history," Gordon said. "I can say I was the fastest guy today." (Read more Danica Patrick stories.)

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