As planned, Danica Patrick's pole win boosts ticket sales at Daytona
Barriers are a big part of racing history, and Danica Patrick broke one Sunday by winning the pole for the Daytona 500, becoming the first woman to ever achieve the feat -- a feat that's not lost on race fans now flying the No. 10 in the infield.
"I think she's, hopefully, going to create a lot more interest for the women, too, but it's a new spark," said Pam Chehaske, a race fan at Daytona International Speedway.
Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said Patrick's pole win could not have come at a better moment, with time left to lure in viewers and spark ticket sales, since there are still plenty of tickets left, a point not lost on the conspiracy theorists who maintain the NASCAR timing and scoring computers were programmed to put Patrick on pole as evidenced by her mysterious spurt on the backstraight on her qualifying laps.
"It's something that we have to capitalize on," said Chitwood.
Race fans are not so subtle; they seem to think Patrick's success is already having an effect on ticket sales.
"Usually I come down on Monday, before the races, and there's no line at all. Because of Danica Patrick, everybody wants to see history," said race fan Charlie Atlar.
If the lines at the speedway are any indication, fans are willing to pay to see if Patrick can take the checkered flag and write a new page in NASCAR history.
Daytona International Speedway has rarely sold out grandstand seats on the superstretch -- the 3,000-foot backstretch that parallels the Daytona Beach International Airport -- even during the "Super Bowl of Racing."