DAYTONA BEACH, FL (AP) – Danica Patrick has won the pole for the season-opening Nationwide Series race at Daytona.

Patrick became the first woman to secure the top qualifying spot in NASCAR’s second-tier series since Shawna Robinson at Atlanta on March 12, 1994.

The former IndyCar star turned a fast lap of 49.250 seconds around the high-banked speedway, averaging 182.741 mph.

Trevor Bayne qualified second, followed by Elliott Sadler, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Austin Dillon.
Patrick is entering her first full-time season in the Nationwide Series, driving for JR Motorsports and team owner Earnhardt Jr. She also is making her Sprint Cup debut in the Daytona 500 on Sunday.

Former open-wheel driver Sam Hornish Jr. qualified sixth, just ahead of defending Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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