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Danica Patrick wins pole for Nationwide Series race at Daytona

Patrick, beginning her first full season in the series, is the first woman to secure the top spot in a Nationwide race since Shawna Robinson in 1994.

February 24, 2012|By Matt Murschel
  • Danica Patrick waits with fellow driver and teammate Tony Stewart to see if her her qualifying time for the NASCAR Nationwide Series race holds up as the fastest. It did and she'll start with pole position for Saturday's race at Daytona International Raceway.
Danica Patrick waits with fellow driver and teammate Tony Stewart to see… (Terry Renna / Associated…)

Reporting from Daytona Beach, Fla. -- One day after a final-lap crash in her Gatorade Duels race, Danica Patrick won the pole position for the NASCAR Nationwide Series' Drive4COPD 300.

Patrick drove the No. 7 Chevrolet to the front of the pack Friday with a qualifying time of 49.250 seconds at Daytona International Speedway. She averaged 182.741 mph during her run.

She becomes the first woman to secure the top spot in a Nationwide Series race since Shawna Robinson at Atlanta on March 12, 1994.

The 29-year-old is running her first full season in the Nationwide Series. Last season, in a limited run, she finished 26th in the series standings.

Joining Patrick in the front row for Saturday's race is defending Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne, who qualified with a time of 49.257. He averaged 182.715 mph.

"That's so cool for her to start her season that way," Bayne said. "They were looking for a boost, and that's a good kick in the butt."

Defending series champion Elliott Sadler will start in the second row next to the No. 5 Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr.

King wins truck series race

John King survived a crash-marred NextEra Energy Resources 250 and picked up his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win in his eighth start.

King secured the win after a crash forced a caution period just after the white flag waved.

A late caution — the eighth of the race — had prompted a third green-white-checkered finish, which opened the door for King. However, it was King who was part of an 11-truck pileup that knocked out then-leader Johnny Sauter, opening the door for the Tennessee native.

That crash forced NASCAR to red-flag the race for 11 minutes 34 seconds before the final restart.

"I don't know what to say; it's a dream come true," King said .

King's Red Horse Racing teammate Timothy Peters finished second and Justin Lofton was third.

"It was an action-packed night," Peters said. "We were fortunate enough to keep our nose clean all night long."

mmurschel@tribune.com

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