NASCAR: Drivers not worried a rookie will lead cars to green flag image

Danica Patrick will start the Daytona 500 from pole position in just her 11th career Sprint Cup start.

However, she has won a Nationwide Series pole at Daytona last year, and that should help her at the start of Sunday’s race. Asked  about leading the 43 cars to the green flag after winning the pole Sunday, Patrick jokingly said: “You just made me feel nervous right there. I’m supposed to be excited and relieved today.”

However, most drivers have no concerns about a rookie leading the cars to the green flag, even though Patrick crashed three times during Speedweeks last year.

“She has got enough experience now and takes enough of the knowledge in to be able to understand what she needs to do and not make any erratic moves, anything like that. I don’t think she would do anything silly,” said former Daytona 500 winner Kevin Harvick was quoted as saying by Sporting News.

Defending Cup champion Brad Keselowski was more straightforward. “I think of her as a rookie and someone that hasn’t won races or proved that she is competitive. That is who I am racing against and that is who will be on pole. … I don’t get a choice so it doesn’t matter how I feel about it,” Keselowski said.