Danica Patrick becomes first woman to win pole position for Dayt - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Danica Patrick becomes first woman to win pole position for Daytona 500

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(02/19/13) - While NASCAR is still a male-dominated sport, women are slowly embracing racing, especially now that Danica Patrick is once again making a name for herself. 

The sound of clippers are not the only "buzz" going on at Octane, a race-inspired salon in Clio.  Here you can find local race car driver and receptionist Hanna Christensen.

"I started in a four-cylinder called the Hornet. I won the championship my first year racing. I moved up to a bomber class, which was a 1977 Caprice, finished sixth in points. Now I race a late model."

Crystal Matteson, a stylist at the salon, competes in local demolition derbies and other races.

"I've done the "Enduro" once and almost hit the wall. I got taken out. I've done the "Powder Puff" and I won that last year," she said.

Mid-Michigan female drivers embrace the sport, just like Danica Patrick. "I love the adrenaline you get. I like being able to beat all the guys. I'm the only girl in my class and I'm pretty competitive."

So far, Patrick's highest finish of her career in NASCAR is forth place at the 2011 Las Vegas Motor Speedway. If she wins at Daytona, she will join the ranks of legends such as Richard Petty, Buddy Baker and Cale Yarborough. Both local ladies are happy to see Patrick rising to the top and giving the guys a run for their money. 

"A lot of women don't like racing, perhaps, but I think it's a good thing for women to start watching, now that they know a girl is starting on the pole," Matteson said.

"I think it gives it a lot of visibility and awareness because its not too often that a girl gets out there and more competitive for the sport," Christensen said.

Winning from the pole won't be easy. Only nine racers have won the Daytona 500 from the  number 1 slot. The latest was Dale Jarret, back in 2000.

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