Forward of ultimate Daytona 500, Danica Patrick retains feelings in examine

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NASCAR moved the race to Sunday afternoon after several years of it being scheduled for Saturday night.

Kyle Busch led all drivers in Saturday's opening Daytona 500 practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Daytona International Speedway, circling the track at 199.743 miles per hour in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

The Homestead race, Patrick said, represented her end of the road as far as the grand passion of the moment.

Patrick finishes her racing career as the highest-finishing female driver in the Daytona 500 (eighth, 2013) and Indy 500 (third, 2009).

This week, she's back in Florida and back in a stock auto - and for the final time. She started on the pole that year, becoming the first (and still only) woman to top qualifying for NASCAR's biggest race. "But right now, I'm fine". Could the third time be a charm for Truex Jr., after leading the DAYTONA 500 past year with two laps to go and finishing second in 2016? So, I've had a lot of time to mentally transition.

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"Tony Eury, a really good spirited, happy guy that knows what he is doing", Patrick said.

NASCAR had kids draw for the position for the event, which was open to all 2017 pole winners, 2017 playoff drivers and past Daytona 500 pole winners.

NEXT UP: Daytona 500 qualifying at 12:15 p.m. ET Sunday to determine the front row, followed by the 75-lap Advance Auto Parts Clash at 3 p.m. ET. Regardless of how she does in either, Patrick is assured a spot in the field with Premium holding a charter that guarantees the team automatic entry.

"I really hope that I finish and that I'm hopefully in contention", she said. "There's no such thing as a runaway here, you just hope that you're in contention".