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NASCAR's biggest star wins pole for Nationwide race

Danica Patrick on pole in Daytona
Friday, February 24, 2012

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Danica Patrick, NASCAR star
Getty Images
NASCAR's biggest star, Danica Patrick won the pole Friday for the season-opening Nationwide Series race at Daytona.

Patrick became the first woman to secure the top qualifying spot in NASCAR's second-tier series since Shawna Robinson at Atlanta on March 12, 1994, and with it gave NASCAR the big publicity they were looking for.  She is a star and perhaps NASCAR's best driver now.  Ticket sales and merchandise sales will skyrocket.

The former IndyCar star turned a fast lap of 49.250 seconds around the high-banked speedway, averaging 182.741 mph.

"I'm just happy I could turn the wheel, push the pedal down and start on the pole. It's great to be in this position," Patrick said.

Trevor Bayne qualified second, followed by Elliott Sadler, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Austin Dillon.

Patrick is entering her first full-time season in the Nationwide Series, driving for JR Motorsports and team owner Earnhardt. She also is making her Sprint Cup debut Sunday in the Daytona 500.

Former open-wheel driver Sam Hornish Jr. qualified sixth, just ahead of defending Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart.

Lineup

POS

CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 7 Danica Patrick Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 182.741 49.250 Leader
2 60 Trevor Bayne Ford Roush Fenway Racing 25th Anniversary 182.715 49.257 -0.007
3 2 Elliott Sadler Chevrolet OneMain Financial 182.671 49.269 -0.019
4 5 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet TaxSlayer.com 182.593 49.290 -0.040
5 3 Austin Dillon* Chevrolet AdvoCare 182.411 49.339 -0.089
6 12 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Alliance Truck Parts 182.308 49.367 -0.117
7 33 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Oreo / Ritz 182.249 49.383 -0.133
8 88 Cole Whitt* Chevrolet Hellmann's 182.109 49.421 -0.171
9 22 Brad Keselowski Dodge Discount Tire 182.094 49.425 -0.175
10 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford Kellogg's Pop-Tarts 181.829 49.497 -0.247
11 38 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Great Clips 181.635 49.550 -0.300
12 31 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet Brandt 181.495 49.588 -0.338
13 44 Mike Bliss Toyota TriStar Motorsports 181.430 49.606 -0.356
14 1 Kurt Busch Chevrolet HendrickCars.com 181.327 49.634 -0.384
15 30 James Buescher Chevrolet Fraternal Order of Eagles 181.199 49.669 -0.419
16 43 Michael Annett Ford Pilot Flying J 181.057 49.708 -0.458
17 18 Denny Hamlin Toyota Z-Line Designs 180.966 49.733 -0.483
18 136 Ryan Truex Chevrolet Grime Boss 180.930 49.743 -0.493
19 11 Brian Scott Toyota Dollar General 180.886 49.755 -0.505
20 14 Eric McClure Toyota Hefty / Reynolds Wrap 180.737 49.796 -0.546
21 70 Johanna Long* Chevrolet Foretravel Motorcoach 180.611 49.831 -0.581
22 20 Joey Logano Toyota GameStop 180.578 49.840 -0.590
23 27 David Ragan Ford CertainTeed / Mercury 180.332 49.908 -0.658
24 54 Kyle Busch Toyota Monster Energy 179.917 50.023 -0.773
25 19 Tayler Malsam Toyota G-Oil 179.655 50.096 -0.846
26 09 Kenny Wallace Toyota Family Farmers 179.594 50.113 -0.863
27 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota DAB Constructors 179.251 50.209 -0.959
28 01 Mike Wallace Chevrolet G&K Services 179.072 50.259 -1.009
29 15 Timmy Hill Ford Poynt.com 178.816 50.331 -1.081
30 97 Johnny Sauter Toyota AMFMEnergy.com / Pellet & Wood Stoves 178.664 50.374 -1.124
31 41 Blake Koch Ford Rise Up and Register 178.501 50.420 -1.170
32 108 Casey Roderick Ford Randy Hill Racing 178.105 50.532 -1.282
33 124 Benny Gordon Toyota Kentucky Antler Company / VFI 178.080 50.539 -1.289
34 23 Robert Richardson Jr. Chevrolet North Texas Pipe 178.010 50.559 -1.309
35 89 Morgan Shepherd Chevrolet GoodInfo.com 177.809 50.616 -1.366
36 39 Joey Gase* Ford Go Green Racing / JoeyGase.com 177.641 50.664 -1.414
37 51 Jeremy Clements Chevrolet Curry Roofing 177.235 50.780 -1.530
38 40 Josh Wise Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 177.190 50.793 -1.543
39 73 Derrike Cope Chevrolet Tito's Handmade Vodka 177.103 50.818 -1.568
40 28 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet Robinson-Blakeney Racing 177.099 50.819 -1.569
41 10 Jeff Green Toyota TriStar Motorsports 176.981 50.853 -1.603
42 42 Erik Darnell Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 176.967 50.857 -1.607
43 50 T.J. Bell Ford Eastbound & Down 176.932 50.867 -1.617
44 81 Jason Bowles* Dodge PledgeToVote.com 176.849 50.891 -1.641
45 4 Danny Efland Chevrolet Danny Efland Racing 176.415 51.016 -1.766
46 47 Scott Speed Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 176.208 51.076 -1.826
47 174 Mike Harmon Chevrolet American Fallen Heroes 175.898 51.166 -1.916
48 52 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet Means Racing 175.486 51.286 -2.036
49 46 Chase Miller Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 175.002 51.428 -2.178
50 176 Donnie Neuenberger Ford Eagle Convenience Stores 173.742 51.801 -2.551

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