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Danica’s in the NASCAR Hall of Fame – sort of

May 17, 2013, 10:28 PM EDT

NASCAR Sprint Cup Showdown - Qualifying Getty Images

Time will tell if Danica Patrick‘s career in stock car racing will be worthy enough to make her a NASCAR Hall of Fame driver. But the popular Sprint Cup rookie has already made her way into the Charlotte, N.C. museum as part of an exhibit that honors her for being the first woman to win a Cup pole.

According to USA Today’s Nate Ryan, Patrick, who earned the pole for the season-opening Daytona 500 and nearly converted it into a win, was asked for some mementos from the occasion by Winston Kelley, the NASCAR HoF’s executive director. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver responded by donating the trophy for her pole position and some hats from the celebration at Daytona International Speedway’s Victory Lane.

Per Ryan’s story, Patrick’s exhibit is positioned inside the main entrance to the building, which will surely see an uptick in traffic over the next week or so as fans converge for tomorrow’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It’s part of a bigger effort by the Hall to emphasize more recent accomplishments within the sport.

“One of the things we realize we don’t have is here’s a 500th home run and so, someone automatically is thinking about the ball,” Kelley told Ryan. “We want to continue to plant that seed when folks do something historical.

“We’ve got a lot of drivers that are humble and not looking to show themselves off, and some think this is just for Hall of Famers. But that’s not the case. It’s telling the entire story of NASCAR history.”

Patrick will start seventh in tomorrow’s Sprint Showdown preliminary race and is aiming to finish in the top two to move to the All-Star Race. If she can’t do that, she’ll have to hope to be the winner of a fan vote that can get her into the main event.

  1. docdochead1 - May 18, 2013 at 7:20 AM

    Nate Ryan hasn’t a clue if he says that Danica almost turned her pole position start in the 2013 Daytona 500 in to a win of the 2013 Daytona 500….. She finished 8th…. which is impressive until you consider that the the Daytona 500 is a restrictor plate race in which all the cars are VERY equal….. Not actually a good race ..just a good thrill show watching 43 cars at almost 200 MPH so close together. The ONLY time so far this year she has finished EVEN ON THE LEAD LAP is in a restrictor plate race. ALL OTHER RACES SHE HAS BEEN AT LEAST 1 LAP DOWN….PERIOD

    Dale Earnhardt Sr himself said of restrictor plate racing.. And I quote ” Hell my Granny could win this race with the rules the way they are”

  2. docdochead1 - May 18, 2013 at 7:23 AM

    The only driver who is more popular is Dale Jr….. Sad to say but very true…..Danica is a great marketing tool…. NOT a great driver of stock cars. I personally am a race fan NOT a marketing fan….

  3. burm61 - May 18, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    She was on the lead lap at Daytona and Martinsville. Wrecked at Dega. Nevertheless, still the biggest joke in this sport.

  4. jmk12013 - May 18, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    Back in the sixties feminist kept most of the male liberal sportswriters out of Vietnam so they own them, because Danica Patrick has done nothing in racing except have a good looking body to go along with her face she led one lap at Daytona and Won a Indy car race in Japan.

  5. Linda - May 18, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    Just shows how “lame” NASCAR has become.

    As for the “pole” at Daytona, I’d still like to have a look at the restrictor plate on her car. NASCAR can’t guarantee
    success, but they sure can stack the deck.

  6. purplesectornet - May 18, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    What a shocker more angry men here to hate on Danica. She is the first woman to be on pole for NASCAR’s premiere event…deal with it.

    • stercuilus65 - May 22, 2013 at 7:16 AM

      What a shock, princess sparkle pony’s number one fan still has his head up her ass!

      • purplesectornet - May 22, 2013 at 3:38 PM

        posted a comment on your blog…do let me know when you plan on getting back to me…

  7. merccougar89 - May 18, 2013 at 10:13 PM

    Danica,she gotta drive a naked then u like no?

  8. garysoucie - May 19, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    docdochead must not have watched the race. Danica was running 3rd at the end and unfortunately hooked up with the wrong driver, who let the inside lane slipstream by, pushing Danica back to 8th. If you’re going to comment on a race, watch it. Don’t just look at the box score.

  9. drylake - May 20, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    i’m enjoyiing Simona, Kat, Bea and Pippa this week. Bet Danica wishes she was in the show. NASCAR needs to get her a gal pal to race with.

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