Harvick gets win in Speedweeks opener at Daytona

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 16, 2013 at 10:46 pm •  Published: February 16, 2013
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Taken out were defending race winner Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin from Joe Gibbs Racing, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson from Hendrick Motorsports, Mark Martin and Kurt Busch.

"I didn't see much. I was just cruising along and I saw sparks in front of me — I knew that wasn't good," Johnson said.

It was a costly crash for Kurt Busch, who also wrecked in practice Friday and has two damaged race cars just two days into Speedweeks. His Furniture Row Racing team was getting assistance from Richard Childress Racing on car repairs to ensure Busch has enough in the fleet to get to the Daytona 500.

"We're going to help them in any way we can," Childress said. "We'll probably have one of those cars back (Sunday), repaired. We got two or three more back at the shop."

Stewart, who took responsibility for triggering the crash, went on to "win" the first segment.

"I made a move for the lead and probably was a little anxious too early," Stewart said of his first segment gaffe.

Fans then voted for the drivers to make a four-tire change during a pit stop between the first and second segment, and it was largely Harvick's race from there. He dominated the final two segments, and held off challenges from Stewart and Greg Biffle on the final lap to win in his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet.

It's a strong opener to what's going to be Harvick's final year with RCR. He's already signed on to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014.

"It's about winning races," Harvick said. "The politics and everything are one thing, but when we get to the race track it's about sitting in this race car making it as fast as it will go. And those (RCR) guys, they don't care about anything but winning and wanting to do good, so we owe it to them and everybody at (sponsor) Budweiser."

Budweiser was the longtime sponsor of the race, which was called the Budweiser Shootout until series sponsor Sprint took over the rights this year.

Harvick broke his engine trying to do a celebratory burnout and his car had to be pushed to Victory Lane.

Biffle finished second and Logano was third in his Penske Racing debut. Stewart was fourth and Kenseth fifth in his Joe Gibbs Racing debut.


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