Love her or hate her, there’s one thing you can’t deny about Danica Patrick: she’s officially making history in NASCAR. Saturday, her fourth-place finish in the Nationwide Series served as the highest ever for a female in the sanctioning body’s 62-year history. After saving gas and charging hard over the second half of the race, her reward was earning the first top-5 finish for a woman since Sara Christian’s Sprint Cup effort in 1949 (the first year that series existed). Christian accomplished the feat in Pittsburgh, running fifth in a 23-car field on a half-mile dirt track while collecting just $175 for her effort. Patrick’s Las Vegas result? It paid a little better, to the tune of $41,180 while also registering two spots higher than Jennifer Jo Cobb’s Truck Series achievement in February: a sixth-place run at Daytona.
Don’t expect the solid result to increase Patrick’s stock car schedule anytime soon, though. Her full-time commitment through Andretti Autosport will continue this season, meaning she’ll be moving on to IndyCar starting with the St. Petersburg race on March 27th.