The famous racer won the Daytona 500 pole Sunday, thus becoming the first woman to secure the top spot for any race in NASCAR’s premier circuit. It’s the most significant achievement of Danica’s career at the moment.
“I was brought up to be the fastest driver, not the fastest girl,” she said. “That was instilled in me from very young, from the beginning. Then I feel like thriving in those moments, where the pressure’s on, has also been a help for me.”
She added: “I also feel like I’ve been lucky in my career to be with good teams and have good people around me. I don’t think any of it would have been possible without that.”
“For those reasons, I’ve been lucky enough to make history, be the first woman to do many things. I really just hope that I don’t stop doing that. We have a lot more history to make. We are excited to do it.”
Danica Patrick began her racing career in the IndyCar Series eight years ago. Everyone was talking about the racer as she became the first woman to lead a lap in the Indianapolis 500; she finished fourth.
Three years later she was the first woman to win an IndyCar Series race when she took the checkered flag at Motegi, Japan.
As The New York Times writes, Danica began the transition to stock car racing tree years later and committed full time to the sport in 2012.
She took part in the lower-level Nationwide Series, in which she finished 10th, and she became the most popular driver of the series. She made her Cup debut in Daytona 500 last year, starting 29th and finishing 38th.
As reports claim, the racer was not locked into the field for this year’s Daytona 500 and might have missed the cut if she had to race her way in on Thursday.
Only four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon can compete with her. Gordon was the only other driver who topped 196 mph in qualifying. He locked up the other guaranteed spot in next week’s season-opening Daytona 500, writes The Huffington Post.
“It’s great to be a part of history with Danica being on the pole,” said Gordon, who joked that at least he was the fastest guy. “I think we all know how popular she is, what this will do for our sport. Congratulations to her. Proud to be on there with her.”
Patrick doesn’t keep silent about her intentions to challenge for the pole, as she posted the fastest lap in practice Saturday.
She drives for Stewart-Haas Racing, and her equipment is supplied by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports, which also supplies her rival Gordon.
“That’s a huge accomplishment,” said the team owner Tony Stewart. “It’s not like it’s been 15 or 20 years she’s been trying to do this. It’s her second trip to Daytona here in a Cup car.
“She’s made history in the sport. That’s stuff that we’re proud of being a part of with her. It’s something she should have a huge amount of pride in.”