Danica Patrick at Daytona. Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Danica Patrick played it safe and kept her pole position for the Daytona 500.
Patrick started on the pole for the first 150-mile Budweiser Duel on Thursday and led the field to green. From there, Patrick was a non-factor in the No. 10 Chevrolet. All she needed to do was keep her car intact to preserve the top spot for Sunday's Daytona 500. She faded into the field and finished 17th. She was nowhere near the four-lap sprint to the finish that saw Kevin Harvick hold off Greg Biffle for the win.
Patrick says there's a "sense of relief" she escaped the race without any major mistakes. She says it wasn't fun not being able to race hard at the end for the win.
Patrick became the first woman in history to win a pole at NASCAR's Sprint Cup series