Patrick claims Daytona pole

Danica Patrick created history on Sunday as she took pole position for the Daytona 500, making her the first woman to secure top spot for any Sprint Cup race.

Patrick, who went out eighth in qualifying after being the fastest driver in practice on Saturday, covered the two-mile track in 45.817 seconds, averaging 196.434 mph.

Jeff Gordon was the only driver who came close to bettering her efforts, the four-time Cup champion the one other driver to go above 196mph.

"Hopefully, there are good things to come," Patrick said afterwards.

Patrick is in her fourth NASCAR season, managing a best finish in 10 Cup races of 17th; she has one top-five in 58 starts in the second-tier Nationwide Series.

She raced part-time in 2010 and 2011 while still racing in IndyCar, switching solely to stock cars last season and finishing 10th in the Nationwide standings.

The previous best qualification performance by a female in a Cup race came from Janet Guthrie, who started ninth at Bristol and Talladega in 1977.