Friday, February 22, 2013

Harvick, Busch Claim Budweiser Duel Wins

Harvick is 2-for-2 at Daytona
Kevin Harvick made another bid for favorite’s status in Sunday’s Daytona 500, while Kyle Busch staked a claim for a second-row starting spot in the “Great American Race” with wins in their respective Budweiser Duel at Daytona qualifying races yesterday at Daytona International Speedway. 

In a replay of last Saturday’s Sprint Unlimited, Harvick once again surged to the front, then held off two lanes of pursuers to prevail over Greg Biffle by 0.165 seconds. It is the second time in a week that Harvick and Biffle have finished one-two here at Daytona, after Harvick claimed the Sprint Unlimited title over Biffle by 0.149 seconds. 

“We’ve been fortunate to win the first two races of Speedweeks,” said Harvick, who now has six career wins at the World Center of Racing. “We just have to keep a level head on our shoulders, not get too high over what we’ve done, and do the same things that we’ve done. If (winning the Daytona 500 is) meant to be, it’s meant to be. I think we definitely have the car and team to be in contention to do that.” 

“You have to be in the right place at the right time,” said Biffle of his second `close but no cigar’ outing of the new season “You have to get a run and have some cars with you. A bunch of people wanted to know why I didn’t turn him. It doesn’t take any talent to wreck somebody for the win and wreck 20 cars behind you. You have to run as hard as you can and trade a little paint, but at the same time, we all have to finish.” 

Kyle scores in Duel #2
Busch’s win over Kasey Kahne and Austin Dillon in the second Budweiser Duel marks his second career victory in the 150-mile races. Unlike Harvick, who laid back for the first half of his race, Busch kept his No. 18 Toyota near the front of the field and led two different times for a total of 19 laps. 

“This is certainly a huge confidence boost for our team, being able to set the momentum in the right direction at the start of the season,” he said. 

Dillon, who will start eighth in his first “Great American Race” on Sunday, was thankful for a good run behind the wheel of the No. 33 Chevrolet. 

“It’s pretty exciting,” said Dillon. “I’m glad my grandfather can sleep now. He was wearing me out before the race, especially when those three RCR cars (qualified in the first Duel). It was a blast out there.” 

With no cautions in the second Duel to slow the pack, the event featured the second-highest speed in the history of the Duels. With a pace of 193.966 mph, the race ran just 0.209 mph slower than the record set by Matt Kenseth in last year’s second Budweiser Duel.

Danica Patrick, who has secured the pole for Sunday’s Daytona 500, will become the first woman to lead the field to the green flag in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.  

“I think what I really need to do is go down to Harvick’s bus tonight and figure out what he’s got going on,” said Patrick when asked what she learned today. “He’s got it figured out here this year, so, good job to him.”  

Of the 45 drivers participating in the Duels, only 12 were guaranteed a spot in NASCAR’s biggest race. Brian Keselowski – brother of defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad – and Mike Bliss failed to make the 43-car field. Racing action resumes today with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250, which will be run under the lights at 8:00 ET.
Photo: Terry Renna/AP, Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images    

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