DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — NASCAR drivers are fond of downplaying the difficulty of a qualifying lap at Daytona.
A monkey could do it, five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson said Sunday. So could an orangutan, former driver Steve Park once said.
If that's true, how could something as simple as Danica Patrick's Daytona 500 pole win mean so much?
Though winning the pole has more to do with the car, the significance of this story has more to do with the driver.
On Sunday, Patrick did something only she could — she helped NASCAR's present and future with a single great lap.
Somewhere, a little girl watching the coverage of Patrick's pole-winning lap at Daytona International Speedway turned to her parents and said, "Can I be a race car driver when I grow up?"