Harvick Now Two-For-Two At Daytona

Kevin Harvick celebrates in victory lane after winning the first Budweiser Duel at Daytona Int'l Speedway Thursday afternoon. (NASCAR Photo)
Kevin Harvick celebrates in victory lane after winning the first Budweiser Duel at Daytona Int’l Speedway Thursday afternoon. (NASCAR Photo)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Kevin Harvick won his second-straight race during SpeedWeeks 2013 as the 2007 Daytona 500 winner won Thursday’s first Budweiser Duel at Daytona Int’l Speedway.

Harvick’s Chevrolet finished 0.165-seconds ahead of Greg Biffle’s Ford. It was Harvick’s first win in the Duel in 11 tries.

Scott Speed finished 15th to gain the final automatic entry position into Sunday’s Daytona 500.

Juan Pablo Montoya’s Chevrolet was third followed by Jimmie Johnson’s Chevrolet. Kurt Busch, who wrecked two cars last weekend, finished fifth in a Chevrolet.

The 60-lap race was slowed one time for a multi-car crash on the backstretch that involved Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, Regan Smith and 2011 winner Trevor Bayne. After the track was cleaned up, the green flag waved with four laps to go the green flag waved with Biffle in the lead alongside Harvick, who moved into the lead on the following lap. Johnson moved up to third along Biffle as Harvick was able to get a one-car advantage.

He maintained that lead all the way to the checkered flag. Harvick also won Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited.

“The biggest thing is the car was a little freer off the corner,” Harvick said. “The way the draft worked out you had to be very precise with timing or else you would get hung out to dry.”

Pole winner Danica Patrick’s Chevrolet finished 17th but that mattered little because she was already guaranteed the pole from last Sunday’s Daytona 500 Pole Qualifications.

“I learned some but what I really need to do is go down to Harvick’s bus and figure out what he is doing because he has it figured out here,” Patrick said. “The high line was the way to go but once I got back there I was really tight. That’s all right, we used it like a big test session.”

Also locking themselves into the Daytona 500 by finishing in the top-15 positions were Tony Stewart, Brad Keselowksi, Casey Mears, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joey Logano, Bobby Labonte, David Gilliland, Joe Nemechek and Michael Waltrip.