The big news in the world of sports this past weekend was Danica Patrick winning the pole position for the upcoming Daytona 500. The “Go Daddy” pitch-girl will start from the number one spot in Sunday’s race. She is the first woman to win a pole position in a NASCAR Sprint Cup series race.
Does starting from the pole position in the Daytona 500 translate to a successful race? If past history is any indication, not necessarily.
The last driver to win the Daytona 500 from the pole position was Dale Jarrett in 2000. In the 54-year history of the race, only nine pole sitters have won. Looking at the results of the 12 pole-sitters in the past 12 races (since Jarrett won from the pole in 2000), only three of the 12 finished the race in the Top 10. Eight of the 12 finished the race in the Top 15. The average finish of the 12 pole-sitters since 2001 was 17th.