Kevin Harvick won Saturday night’s season-opening exhibition race at Daytona International Speedway for the third time in his career.
Leading every lap but one in the final segment of The Sprint Unlimited, Kevin Harvick was followed by Greg Biffle and Joey Logano. On the last lap of the race, Harvick blocked Stewart on the inside and moved back up the track to block Biffle, who was very close to sending Harvick’s No. 29 Chevrolet into the fence.
Tony Stewart finished the race on fourth place, with Matt Kenseth ranking fifth in his first race for Joe Gibbs Racing. For Harvick, it was the third victory in five races, following back-to-back wins in 2009 and 2010.
According to Harvick, Stewart’s Chevy SS and Kenseth’s Camry were slightly faster than his Chevrolet, but he said he made the critical moves at precisely the right times, particularly when it came to blocking Biffle.
“In the middle segment, I could tell that Biffle was backing up and trying to time what his move was going to be as we got further into the segment. So I was working on my timing to kind of back up and block that. Those guys (Biffle and Logano) were coming on the outside, and I don’t know if the 14 (Stewart) and the 16 (Biffle) were side-by-side, but I just felt like I needed to move up and block that momentum, and we were able to block two of those moves,” Harvick told NASCAR.com.
On lap 15, the halfway point of the race, a nine-car incident caused by Tony Stewart ruined the winning chances of nearly a third of the field. The cars of Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Kurt Busch, Kyle Buschand Denny Hamlin were all knocked out.