Before racing stock cars, Patrick raced open-wheel IndyCars for several years.
Patrick said winning a pole position in Kansas in 2005 was one of her top moments as an IndyCar driver. She also was the first woman to win a race in that series, in Japan in 2008, and was the first woman to ever lead a lap at the famed Indianapolis 500.
Patrick won a pole last year at Daytona in the Nationwide Series, NASCAR's second division. She finished 38th in that race and in the Daytona 500 and she said on Sunday that she plans on competing in both races again next weekend.
Janet Guthrie previously held both the records for qualifying by a female driver. She qualified ninth for two races in 1977 and her best Daytona starting position was 18th in 1980.
Gordon, a three-time champion at the Daytona 500, welcomed Patrick to the front row.
"This is great from the sport and the rest of us will benefit from it," he said. "I'm proud to sit on the front row with her."
She also said that the wait to see if she had won the pole was made more agonizing because she had gone to work out as other drivers went one by one, trying to best her top lap.
Patrick told CNN that understanding the scope of her achievement "is something that happens down the road. In the moment, it's about thinking about what I need to do for next Sunday and trying to make some more history."