The Front Row Doesn’t Always Win At Daytona

Danica Patrick

(WOMR file photo)

Everyone one is all a twitter about Danica winning the pole position this past week.  Yeah she was the fastest car in qualifying.  Yeah she was the first female to win the pole for the Daytona 500.  However, does that translate, winning the pole for the Daytona 500, into being the car that can or will dominate in the Daytona 500 this Sunday?

The answer in a couple of words is– not necessarily so!  Check out a few of these facts.

In the 54 previous runnings of the Daytona 500, only seven drivers have won from the pole position. Only two of these drivers accomplished the feat more than once — Cale Yarborough (1968, 1984) and Bill Elliott (1985, 1987). Dale Jarrett was the most recent polesitter to capture the Harley J. Earl Trophy when he won the event in 2000. The other drivers to win the Daytona 500 from the pole were Fireball Roberts (1962), Richard Petty (1966), Buddy Baker (1980) and Jeff Gordon (1999).

Winning the Daytona 500 from the outside of the front row is even rarer. Only six drivers have accomplished this feat, with Richard Petty the only one with more than one victory in the race from the second starting position. The most recent driver to win from this spot was once again Jarrett, in 1993, Gordon’s first full-time season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. A.J. Foyt (1962), Geoffrey Bodine (1986), Darrell Waltrip (1989) and Ernie Irvan (1991) are the four other drivers.

So there is 54 years of history that would indicate that just because you have a fast car in qualifying, that fact really doesn’t translate to much of anything on Sunday!  Going fast in a single car run is vastly different from “pack racing”!  And we all know that “pack racing” is the racing de jour at both Daytona and Talladega these days!

Therefore, I would not be placing bets in Las Vegas, or with all your friends, just yet for Danica to be hoisting the Harley J. Earl trophy Sunday evening in a celebratory move in Victory lane!  That my friends is what is termed, a LONG SHOT!  A bet with better odds might be to bet that her car will end up on the back of “the hook” before the race has concluded Sunday afternoon!

Well, it is time to “get your motor running and head out on the highway”  That translates to gathering up my stuff, getting myself ready, hopping into the rental car, and heading over to the race track at Daytona this morning!

See you at the race track!



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