Harvick wins Budweiser Duel #1, scores 2nd win at Speedweeks

Kevin Harvick wins the first Budweiser Duel on Thursday.
He will start third in Sunday's Daytona 500.
Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Momentum. Everyone wants it, but Kevin Harvick has it.

Harvick won the first of the Budweiser Duel qualifying races on Thursday, his second win of Daytona Speedweeks. The driver of the No. 29 Budweiser car – yes, the Budweiser car won the Budweiser Duel – will start 3rd in Sunday’s Daytona 500.

Harvick is in his last season racing for Richard Childress Racing and will move to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. But his two wins show he is no lame duck.

Harvick had his good-luck charm in attendance: He sat his son, Keelan, in his racecar before the beginning of the first Duel, just like he did before the Sprint Unlimited, which he won Saturday.

“Having (wife) Delana and Keelan here has added balance to my life,” Harvick said in a SPEED interview after his win Thursday.

Harvick had the car to beat in the second half of the first Duel, taking the lead from Trevor Bayne on Lap 38. Bayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 winner, led the first 37 laps of the race.

The race was calm for most of the 60-lap, 150-mile event, with drivers taking the cautious route in the new Generation 6 racecar, running single-file for stretches. Drivers found momentum on the high line and were unable to get the low line to move.

The race’s only incident came on Lap 52 when Denny Hamlin got loose and into Carl Edwards, triggering a multi-car wreck that ensnared Regan Smith and Bayne, who appeared to have the best car earlier in the race.

The top 15-finishing drivers will line up in the odd-numbered starting positions in the Daytona 500.

Brian Keselowski was the only driver eliminated from the Daytona 500 after the first Duel. Keselowski fell off the pace early on and will miss NASCAR’s biggest race.

Scott Speed claimed the 15th and last transfer spot after Martin Truex Jr. was black-flagged by NASCAR because his right-side window was out of his racecar.

Danica Patrick entered the Budweiser Duel as the Daytona 500 pole winner and brought the field to green. At the direction of her No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing team, she dropped to the back of the field about 10 laps into the race to protect her pole-winning car. Patrick finished the first Duel in 17th.

Next year brings a major change for the Budweiser Duels. The twin qualifying races will be held under the lights in 2014, Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III announced Thursday.

Budweiser Duel 1 results:

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. (black-flagged)
20 Denny Hamlin
21 Brian Keselowski
22 Carl Edwards
23 Trevor Bayne

DNQ: Brian Keselowski.
Harvick wins Budweiser Duel #1, scores 2nd win at Speedweeks Harvick wins Budweiser Duel #1, scores 2nd win at Speedweeks Reviewed by Rebecca Kivak on Thursday, February 21, 2013 Rating: 5