Another dominant performance was put on by Kevin Harvick Thursday afternoon in the Budweiser Duel when he crossed the finish line first to score his second victory during SpeedWeeks. Harvick won last Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited and now he has won the first Budweiser Duel. Harvick stayed up front for much of the second part of the race and once again, he proved that staying up front at Daytona with these new cars can result in victory.
Danica Patrick was on the pole for the race but, she played it cool by not being in the middle of everything and risking her pole-winning car. Patrick was passed for the lead on the first lap by Trevor Bayne and she never returned to the front. The first half of the race went by quickly and caution-free but, the second half was a little more exciting.
Kevin Harvick took his first lead of the day on lap 36 and just soon after, the only round of green-flag pit stops began. All drivers had clean and successful stops and Harvick cycled through as the leader. The only trouble in the race struck with eight to go when Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, Trevor Bayne and Regan Smith were involved in a wreck.
The wreck began when Denny Hamlin got loose coming off of turn two and spun down and hit Carl Edwards. Edwards then took a hard right hand turn into the outside backstretch wall and Trevor Bayne had nowhere to go but, into Edwards. Hamlin then spun down the backstretch and suffered little damage. Regan Smith also took a spin down the backstretch. Edwards and Bayne’s cars both were totaled and they will both need to go to back-ups for the Daytona 500. Good news for Bayne is that when he won the Daytona 500 in 2011, he wrecked in his Duel and had to go to a back-up.
The last restart had cars going three and four wide until they crossed the finish line. Drivers were trying to lock-up a position in the Daytona 500 for themselves and only a handful of drivers accomplished that. Michael Waltrip and Scott Speed were among the last few cars to guarantee themselves a spot in Sunday’s race. David Reutimann and Brian Keselowski are drivers who will need to wait and see what happens in the second Duel to see if they make the Great American Race.
Two races are in at SpeedWeeks so far, and Kevin Harvick is a solid two for two. Harvick will now be starting third for the Daytona 500. The second Budweiser Duel is up next and all the drivers will be competing to lock-up the final positions for Sunday’s race. A few drivers will be awaiting the result of the second Duel to see if they are in the Great American Race. More excitement is ahead at Daytona.
Results via Nascar.com
1. (13) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 60, $57792.
2. (14) Greg Biffle, Ford, 60, $42789.
3. (7) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 60, $37789.
4. (11) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 60, $32789.
5. (17) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 60, $30789.
6. (3) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 60, $28389.
7. (12) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 60, $27289.
8. (8) Casey Mears, Ford, 60, $26289.
9. (6) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 60, $26264.
10. (5) Joey Logano, Ford, 60, $26239.
11. (20) Bobby Labonte, Toyota, 60, $26214.
12. (15) David Gilliland, Ford, 60, $26189.
13. (22) Joe Nemechek(i), Toyota, 60, $26164.
14. (16) Michael Waltrip, Toyota, 60, $26139.
15. (18) Scott Speed, Ford, 60, $26114.
16. (21) David Reutimann, Toyota, 60, $26089.
17. (1) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 60, $26064.
18. (19) Regan Smith(i), Chevrolet, 60, $26014.
19. (10) Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, 60, $25989.
20. (4) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 59, $25964.
21. (23) Brian Keselowski, Toyota, 58, $25914.
22. (9) Carl Edwards, Ford, Accident, 52, $25889.
23. (2) Trevor Bayne(i), Ford, Accident, 52, $25839.
By Jason Schultz