DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – In about 24 hours, Danica Patrick went from her biggest crash to her biggest moment in a stock car.
The former IndyCar star won the pole Friday for the season-opening Nationwide Series race at Daytona, becoming the first woman to secure the top qualifying spot in NASCARs second-tier series since Shawna Robinson at Atlanta on March 12, 1994.
It came a day after she wrecked on the final lap of a qualifying race for the Daytona 500.
Its a good turn of events, she said.
The Nationwide race is today. She has three top-10 finishes in 25 Nationwide races over two years.
She has felt some pressure since leaving open wheel for stock-car racing. And now, after securing the pole, everything has been ratcheted up a notch.
When you sit on the pole, youre the fastest car, so if you dont win the race, then I just wasted the fastest car, she said.
Truck Series off to smashing start
John King wrecked the leader and later held on to win a wild Truck Series opener at Daytona International Speedway. It was Kings first NASCAR victory.
King turned leader Johnny Saunter around on the second of three attempts at a green-white-checkered finish, but the real gasps were saved for the final melee. Joey Coulter slammed into the wall shortly after the final restart, his truck lifting off the ground, hitting the fence and then spinning back across the track. Coulter emerged a few minutes later unharmed and bowed to the crowd.
Around the tracks
Brad Keselowski posted the fastest 10-lap average (195.898 mph) during Daytona 500 practice, barely edging Kyle Busch (195.895 mph). Budweiser is removing its name from NASCARs Shootout exhibition race at Daytona beginning next February and instead will be the title sponsor for the 150-mile Duel qualifying races. Sarah Fisher signed an engine deal for her team with Honda for this IndyCar season.