Danica Patrick is first woman to claim pole at Daytona 500Terry Renna/PA

NASCAR racing driver Danica Patrick has entered the history books by becoming the first woman to take pole position at the iconic Daytona 500.

Patrick took pole in the famous Florida race with a qualifying lap of 196.4mph in her number 10 Chevrolet, completing the 2.5mile-long route at the Florida superspeedway in 45.817 seconds on Sunday.

She will also become the first rookie to start from pole at the Daytona 500 since 2002.

Patrick won't have an easy ride, as she lines up alongside four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon on the front row.

Patrick, from Roscoe, Illnois, had to wait for two hours after her lap while the other 37 drivers took their turn to try and knock her off the top spot. After she was confirmed as pole-sitter, she thanked her team's hard work, claiming her involvement was only 10% compared to their 90%.

Danica Patrick is first woman to claim pole at Daytona 500Alan Diaz/PA


"I've heard stories about a kid, a boy or a girl, saying, "But mommy, daddy. That's a girl that's out there racing,"" She said in an interview after qualifying.

"And then they can have that conversation to say that, "You can do anything you want to do, and gender doesn't matter." Your passion is what matters. And that's cool."

Before making the switch to NASCAR, Patrick raced in the IndyCar series. Her Indy Japan 300 win in April 2008 made her the only woman so far to win an IndyCar race.

The Daytona 500 is the series' most prestigious race - considered to be NASCAR's equivalent of the Super Bowl.

The Florida track's breezy coastal location makes it difficult for a driver to break away from the chasing pack and it is one of four races in the NASCAR calendar where power is restricted to 500bhp.