After claiming his third career win in Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited at Daytona, Harvick turned in just the 25th-fastest time trial performance Sunday, placing him deep in the field for Thursday’s Budweiser Duel at Daytona.
Harvick grabbed onto a dominant outside lane late in Sunday’s Sprint Unlimited, then refused to turn loose, holding off challenges from Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle to win the non-points special event, in the 2013 debut of the Gen-6 race car.
“Any time you’re in Victory Lane here at Daytona, it’s a great day,” said Harvick, who also won the race in 2009 and 2010. “When you’re coming from white to checkered, it’s whatever you have to do to make it happen. It was a great day for our Budweiser Chevy and I’m glad we got Speedweeks started off the right way.
“I was nervous about the 20 (Kenseth) and the 14 (Stewart),” he admitted. “I thought their cars were a little bit better than what we had. Kenseth had the strongest car, and he could make a lot happen on the bottom by himself. So, I was glad to see him get shuffled back there.”
After winning the race, Harvick took an opportunity to lampoon the media for its frenzied coverage of the relationship between rookie drivers Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., asking, “How are we going to get Danica and Ricky on the front page now?
“I missed you guys the other day,” he said. “All of you guys were busy being TMZ. Now you have to talk to me and I’m going to be a complete prick.”
Harvick’s Saturday night speed did not transition to Sunday. His Budweiser Chevy SS managed only the 25th-fastest lap in single-car qualifying, but Harvick said he was not concerned over a back-of-the-pack starting position for Thursday’s 150-mile qualifying race.
“I knew today wasn't going to be great in qualifying trim,” he explained, “but the race should be good!”