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Danica Patrick will not repeat as Daytona 500 pole sitter

Feb 16, 2014, 1:24 PM EDT

Danica Patrick

After being the first woman in NASCAR history to win the pole for last year’s Daytona 500, Danica Patrick will not be back at the front of the pack for next Sunday’s Great American Race.

Instead, she’ll start at or near the back of the pack.

In qualifying for the front row Sunday at Daytona International Speedway, Patrick was one of the first drivers to make a run for the pole. She recorded a speed of 192.28 mph on her first run and a faster 194.38 mph on her second lap around the 2.5-mile, high-banked track.

But Patrick ultimately wound up falling short in speed to early pole sitter Dale Earnhardt Jr., who had a fast lap of 195.211 mph at 46.104 seconds.

When asked what she learned on her two-lap run, Patrick deadpanned, “Nothing,” but then gave credit to her Stewart Haas Racing crew, especially after she and teammate Tony Stewart suffered motor failures during Saturday morning’s practice session, forcing the team to put in new motors for both drivers’ qualifying efforts on Sunday.

Because of the engine change, Patrick, Stewart and Bobby Labonte will start at or near the back of the field for both Thursday’s Budweiser Twin 150 Duels and next Sunday’s season-opening Daytona 500.

“I think I learned that lap was just for the guys (crew) and to reward them for putting it all back together, getting another engine in it, for working hard,” Patrick said. “I know we crashed a car last night (in the Sprint Unlimited), and to just say this is your hard work over the winter, and what you’ve put your blood, sweat and tears into to try and qualify for the pole again for the Daytona 500. They deserve to get a lap out there. It’s definitely disappointing knowing we’re starting from the back of, not so much the Duels, but the 500. I don’t understand it, but it’s what I have to do.”

Qualifying is continuing so check back for more updates here at NBCSports’ MotorSportsTalk.

  1. wallio - Feb 16, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    Danica doesn’t understand the rules? There’s a surprise.

  2. leonetm - Feb 16, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    Oh boy another censored comment sight….what a surprise.

  3. leonetm - Feb 16, 2014 at 4:28 PM

    Why Nascar is making Danica a celebrity I have no Idea. This person is talentless and I believe in the KING, she will never win a race until everybody else stays at home.

    • indycarseries500 - Feb 16, 2014 at 9:49 PM

      It wasn’t ESPN, SI, FHM, IndyCar, NASCAR, CART, MST, Racer, etc. that made her a celebrity, it was the fans and the general public.

    • wallio - Feb 17, 2014 at 10:16 AM

      Wrong about me too chief. I run NHRA/IHRA the series where woman can actually drive. Seems like the only bleacher sitters are her fans…..

  4. dgale79 - Feb 16, 2014 at 6:32 PM

    I’m tired of all the Danica bashing going on in NASCAR articles. Just remember, she is racing on the weekends and …….well, all of you are watching on tv from home or maybe in the bleachers.

    • spa67 - Feb 16, 2014 at 11:43 PM

      1. I race myself, I’m shooting for 9 SCCA weekends this year
      2. Everyone of my fellow racers, and I mean everyone (men and Women) universally think she’s in over her head.

  5. millikensteeler - Feb 16, 2014 at 7:02 PM


    and your comment still doesn’t make Danika anything but a loser on the track. If you can;t except reality its on you.

    One day there will be a very good female racer however, its not going to be Danika.

    • dgale79 - Feb 16, 2014 at 7:26 PM

      Reality is she has a Sprint Cup ride every weekend.

      • jjackwagon - Feb 16, 2014 at 8:05 PM

        The reality is, she has been given an opportunity based on her gender rather than her qualifications or ability to perform the job. The last time I checked gender-bias was against the law except when it benefits women or minorities. Then the PC police conveniently ignore it.

      • spa67 - Feb 16, 2014 at 11:46 PM

        Yes… because she can just barely function as a driver and she’s hot.

        How would you like it if your cardiac surgeon only passed med school because she was hot?

  6. ssj455 - Feb 16, 2014 at 8:39 PM

    Let her sit on a pole. She’s not good for anything else.

  7. jimatmad - Feb 16, 2014 at 9:51 PM

    Danica can sit on my pole if it will make her feel better.

    I know it would do me a world of good.

  8. jimatmad - Feb 16, 2014 at 9:53 PM

    “Thanks, Richard. I thought I might have to do something to get extra attention.”


  9. timaug - Feb 16, 2014 at 11:06 PM

    Daytona should be a good race for danica.
    Its not a racers track, so she should be ok.

  10. timaug - Feb 16, 2014 at 11:10 PM

    If danica is ever going to win a race, its going to be at Daytona or talledega. A drafting track, where just being in the right place, at the right time, will work to her advantage.
    Or maybe a rain shortened event.
    She will never win a cup race, with the last 20 laps run under green.

    • spa67 - Feb 16, 2014 at 11:44 PM

      1. I race myself, I’m shooting for 9 SCCA weekends this year
      2. Everyone of my fellow racers, and I mean everyone (men and Women) universally think she’s in over her head.

  11. penskefan - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:42 AM

    “Instead, she’ll start at or near the back of the pack.” Another year – same result.

  12. penskefan - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:44 AM

    So why don’t I see a Motorsports Talk article spotlighting Austin Dillon who actually DID win the pole?

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