Danica Daytona 500 Finish Sets New Record, Earns Praise From Drivers

Danica Patrick's Daytona 500 finish may not have won her any awards, but it was still good enough to put her in the history books. Patrick finished eighth in the Dayton 500, the best finish for any woman in history.

"She's a racer. She's going to make a lot of history all year long," fellow driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. told Yahoo! News.

Patrick had already made history by being the first woman to ever hold the pole position in the Daytona 500; she led the race for several laps before being passed by Jeff Gordon. That pushed her back in the race and left her frustrated.

"It was just because I was disappointed I didn't do it off the bat [come back] like I thought I should have. It didn't really have to do with being a girl and leading," Patrick explained. She instead took more pride in being one of 13 people to lead a lap of the Daytona 500 as well as the Indianapolis 500.

"I thought that was a much cooler stat for me," she said.

Her family has expressed their great pride in Patrick's performance as well as her determination to keep going.

"With Danica, she does better when the pressure is on," sister Brooke told Yahoo. "I think it just shows the kind of driver she is; there's a reason she keep breaking these records. She has the determination. She's so mentally tough."

Even though the day started out with James Franco's unprecedented starting announcement: "Drivers and Danica, start your engines," the day ended on a high note for the driver.

Daytona winner Jimmie Johnson explained that he "didn't think of it as Danica. It was just another car that was fast. It was a car on the track," he explained.

"I think it was better to have run up in the top 10 all day," Patrick told Reuters … "being able to stay up and lead at one point for me, that was more of an accomplishment. Once Jimmie got into the outside line he showed that he was fast. It was a steady day for me. Nothing super-duper eventful," she added.