Patrick will start on top

AYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Danica Patrick, driver of the #34 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, looks on in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
AYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 21:  Danica Patrick, driver of the #34 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, looks on in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
AYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 21: Danica Patrick, driver of the #34 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, looks on in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Based on her experience in Thursday’s first Budweiser Duel 150-mile qualifying race, Danica Patrick will bring the field to green in the outside lane to start Sunday’s Daytona 500.

Patrick, who was the pole winner has her pick of lanes, confirmed the decision to reporters Friday afternoon in the Daytona media center. In her Duel, Patrick chose the bottom lane and was shuffled back through the field.

“I started on the bottom,” Patrick said. “Tony (Stewart) was right behind me if I started there, so we thought that was kind of the best place to be. We didn’t really know that it was going to be so obvious that we needed to start on the top; that’s why we will do that for the 500 on Sunday. Tony just stayed back there, so I just stayed with him.

“We just kind of fell back; we got three-wide a little bit at one point, and I just got out of it and let that pass and then dropped to the back. The car was pretty tight, so there wasn’t a lot I could do anyway. Passing seems tough without a fair amount of help. And even when you get that, it sometimes gets stopped-up by somebody dropping down in front of the lane, and slowing it up.

“So, it is going to be interesting to see how things end up working out on Sunday.”

Patrick is the first female driver to win a pole in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. No female driver has won a race in any of NASCAR’s top three touring series.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.