- Associated Press - Sunday, February 24, 2013

Danica Patrick made history by becoming the first woman to start from the pole in a NASCAR Cup race.

But, in the beginning of the Daytona 500, she failed to pull off another landmark.

Choosing the outside spot on the front row, Patrick gave up the lead to Jeff Gordon on the very first lap.

Therefore, she missed out on an early chance to become the first female to lead a Cup lap.

Over the first 10 laps, she settled in behind Gordon and held on to the second spot in the 43-car field.

Patrick went on the radio before the race to thank her crew for giving her such a strong car. “I’ll do best job I can to do my end of the deal today,” she said. “All in all, thank you for everything. You guys are awesome.”

_ Paul Newberry _ http://www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

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DRIVERS AND WHO?: “Drivers … and Danica!!! … start your engines.”

With that unique command, actor James Franco has ordered the 43 cars to fire up for the Daytona 500.

The duty is normally carried out with the most famous words in racing: “Gentlemen, start your engines.”

Of course, this year is different. Danica Patrick is the first woman to start from the pole in a Cup race, and Franco hinted beforehand that he was planning an audible. As unpredictable as ever, he passed on a chance to copy the command that was used when Patrick raced in the Indianapolis 500, “Lady and gentlemen, start your engines.”

Now, it’s time to go racing at Daytona.

_ Paul Newberry _ http://www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

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