High-profile newcomers Danica Patrick and Nelson Piquet Jr. qualified 12th and seventh, respectively, for their stock car debuts in today's ARCA race at Daytona.
The IndyCar race winner and her JR Motorsports crew were satisfied with her position.
"We weren't really picking up as much speed as we wanted when we were taping it up and trying to go as fast as possible, but what we were really happy about was when we went out to qualify, we went about the same speed that we did in practice," she said. "We didn't drop off at all, which can happen sometimes when you're the only one out there. We were ahead of a few people who were ahead of us in practice. As [crew chief] Tony Eury Jr. pointed out to me, 'You're going to be able to see the pace car from there!' So, apparently that's OK."
Piquet is making first racing appearance since his dramatic split with the Renault Formula 1 team last summer, and has secured a drive with Eddie Sharp Racing, which won last year's ARCA title with Justin Lofton. The Brazilian said he had not expected to start so high up the grid.
"I am really happy with the result today and a little surprised because the first time I drove was in Thursday practice," said Piquet. "It was my first time in the ARCA car and my first time at Daytona. So I am really pleased with the result, especially in such a competitive session – there was just half a second between first and 15th. I can't wait for the race."
James Buescher will start from the pole for Saturday's race, which includes no fewer than six female racers – Alli Owens, Leilani Munter, Jill George, Milka Duno and Jennifer Jo Cobb, along with Patrick.