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Thomas Bowles · Thursday February 21, 2013
Kevin Harvick powered through the field, just before a round of green-flag pit stops to take the first of two Budweiser Duels at Daytona. He kept Greg Biffle a car length behind heading to the checkers to win with ease. Juan Pablo Montoya, Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch rounded out the top-5 finishers.
Trevor Bayne, who had led the majority of the race up until that point ended up in the garage after the race’s one and only wreck. Denny Hamlin, heading onto the backstretch lost control and collected Bayne, Carl Edwards, and Regan Smith to bring out a late caution that bunched up the field. Edwards and Bayne, who would have started 33rd or worse anyways will now go to the rear with backup cars.
Meanwhile, Harvick held on, pushing ahead of Biffle on the restart with four laps remaining. He then stayed out of the fray while everyone else battled behind him, flashing the speed that put him up front for 40 of 75 laps in the Sprint Unlimited. Now, he’s going for a Speedweeks first: winning the Unlimited, Duels, and the Daytona 500 all in one weekend.
Pole sitter Danica Patrick, who was stout in the first few laps quickly settled into the back of the lead draft to “play it safe.” While choosing not to start and park, as co-owner Gene Haas suggested she generally stayed out of risky situations and came home 17th, one of the final cars on the lead lap. Martin Truex, Jr., who was solidly inside the top 10 got penalized for having no right-side window. That opened the door for Scott Speed to officially transfer in, with 15th place. Brian Keselowski, whose car was off the pace from the start ran 23rd and will be one of the two drivers to DNQ for the 500.
The top line appeared to take command throughout most of the Duel, with single-file runs dominating the competition. “You put the fast car on the top,” said Michael Waltrip, who finished 14th. “And they’ll outrun the bottom every time.”
The second Duel is scheduled to start 30 minutes after the first.
Here’s the unofficial results from Duel #1:
1) Kevin Harvick
2) Greg Biffle
3) Juan Pablo Montoya
4) Jimmie Johnson
5) Kurt Busch
6) Tony Stewart
7) Brad Keselowski
8) Casey Mears
9) Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
10) Joey Logano
11) Bobby Labonte
12) David Gilliland
13) Joe Nemechek
14) Michael Waltrip
15) Scott Speed
16) David Reutimann
17) Danica Patrick
18) Regan Smith
19) Martin Truex, Jr.
20) Denny Hamlin, one lap down
21) Brian Keselowski, two laps down
22) Carl Edwards, DNF, wreck
23) Trevor Bayne, DNF, wreck
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