DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Janet Guthrie has sent her congratulations to Danica Patrick for winning the pole at the Daytona 500.
Guthrie was the previous best female qualifier in a Cup race. She started ninth at Bristol and Talladega in 1977.
Guthrie was proud of Patrick's accomplishment. But Guthrie was more proud of the way NASCAR's attitude toward women has evolved over the last 30 years. Guthrie was heartened at seeing a women succeed in what has been a man's world.
She was the first woman to drive in the Indianapolis 500 in 1977, that same year she became the first to run in the Daytona 500. A ninth-place finish at Indy in 1978 stood as the best by a woman until Patrick finished fourth in 2005, then third in 2009.