Danica Patrick became the first woman to win the Daytona 500 pole position Sunday when she covered the 2½-mile speedway in 45.817 seconds.
Patrick, who has not had much success in either the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series or the second-tier Nationwide Series, was the eighth driver in the qualifying session and averaged 196.434 mph.
She had to wait for two hours as 37 other drivers tried to better her mark on the Daytona, Fla., track. Jeff Gordon was the only other driver to average 196 mph, clinching the second spot on the front row for the race, which will be next Sunday.
The rest of the field will be set in dual, 125-mile qualifying races Thursday.
"That's a really big deal because qualifying for the Daytona 500 is a really interesting thing," Patrick said. "If you're anywhere but the front row, it's really hard to see on race day. I'm proud of all the hard work that goes into making a pole. It’s not just turning left.