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Daytona 500 2013 date and schedule: Danica Patrick wins qualifier to kick off big week of action

Danica Patrick earned the top spot in the Daytona 500 qualifying on Sunday, setting the stage for the race on Feb. 24.

Tom Pennington

The 55th annual Daytona 500 is quickly approaching, with the event set to take place on Sunday, Feb. 24 at Daytona International Speedway.

Danica Patrick earned pole position for the race on Feb. 17 by outperforming Jeff Gordon and the rest of the field in the qualifying session. She became the first woman to secure the No. 1 spot for a Sprint Cup race.

The quest for the pole kickstarted a week of events leading up to the big race. On Monday and Tuesday, the UNOH Battle at the Beach will commence, debuting Daytona's 0.4-mile short-track oval. On Thursday, the Budweiser Duel takes place, which helps decide the final starting grid for the big race.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series takes the spotlight on Friday in the Nextera Energy Resources 250, and the Nationwide Series caps off the pre-Daytona 500 schedule with the Drive4COPD 300 on Saturday.

The Daytona 500 will get started at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, after the completion of a pre-race performance by the Zac Brown Band. Television coverage of the event can be found on FOX.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.