Danica Patrick grabbing a ton of attention at Daytona

11:20 PM, Feb 20, 2013   |    comments
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DAYTONA, Florida -- At the world center of racing, the racing world has been centered around Danica Patrick.

Everyone seems to be talking about the first female pole setter in Sprint Cup History. The only one not talking about what Patrick accomplished is Danica herself. 

Fans and media are following her as close as the race field intends to during Sunday's 54th running of the 500.

Even NASCAR hall of fame driver Rusty Wallace is impressed with her ability on the track, telling Danica's parents,"She's got respect now, she's done really good, and she's gotten some really good positive attention."

Accoridng to Danica's parents, Bev and TJ, the pressure and attention isn't going to her head.

"She's different, so she's always going to standout, and when she does well it's always pointed out," said Bev Patrick. "When she doesn't, that's pointed out probably more than the guys too. She's always the girl, and hopefully she's the lady."

To Bev and TJ Patrick, Danica's still their little girl, even if she's NASCAR'S sweetheart. It's undeniable Danica has a spark plug mentality, igniting a new track for woman in the sport dominated by males.

"She gets her biggest thrill when somebody is at the race track and parlays maybe their daughter to doing something, maybe a doctor or a lawyer, or a football player or a baseball player," said TJ Patrick. "It can be done if you really want to do it and work hard."

Patrick's hard work has paid off for the former cheerleader turned Indy driver to first lady of Sprint Cup.

"She wants to be a great race car driver and she'll probably be happy the day that nobody says she's the best female driver out there or anything, and says what a great driver she is," said Bev Patrick.

Danica is well on her way to proving she belongs with her male counterparts. Today she ran the fastest ten laps during practice, averaging 197 miles per hour.

"I think people are going to be more surprised as time goes on, with the right people behind her, and in the right circumstances, she can do just about anything," said TJ Patrick.

Danica will lead the field to green in Sunday's running of the Daytona 500 if she can manage to come out unscathed in the Gatorade Duels tomorrow night.

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