NASCAR: Kevin Harvick wins Duel 1 for the Daytona 500 image

Only days after winning the Sprint Unlimited, Kevin Harvick won Thursday’s Duel 1 at Daytona International Speedway.

Harvick will therefore start from the inside lane in Sunday’s Daytona 500. The race featured polesitter Danica Patrick, plus the entrants that finished in the odd-numbered positions from qualifying last Sunday. Patrick failed to lead from the opening lap, as Trevor Bayne overtook her from the outside lane. Bayne led the first half of the race, until Lap 37.

Harvick passed leader Trevor Bayne on Lap 37 and led the remaining 23 laps in the first of two 150-mile, 60-lap Duel races that set the order for the Great American Race. “We didn’t come here to run 10th or 12th, wherever we were running. We wanted to make something happen,” said Harvick, who made his move on the inside lane.

Duel 1 was relatively peaceful, with the only caution flag coming on Lap 52 when Denny Hamlin bumped Carl Edwards, triggering a crash that sent the No. 99 Ford into the wall and also claimed Bayne’s No. 21 Ford. Bayne, who led the majority of the race, will go to a back-up car and start from the rear Sunday.

“I was driving along, minding my own business … then I saw in my mirror, it seemed like Denny got sideways. But that’s the fourth time we’ve wreck a car since we’ve been down here,” Edwards told a TV reporter following the race.

Martin Truex Jr., who was in the lead pack for most of the race in Duel 1, dropped to 19th place after being black flagged for losing a side window on the final lap.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race – Duel #1

1. (13) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 60, $57792.
2. (14) Greg Biffle, Ford, 60, $42789.
3. (7) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 60, $37789.
4. (11) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 60, $32789.
5. (17) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 60, $30789.
6. (3) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 60, $28389.
7. (12) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 60, $27289.
8. (8) Casey Mears, Ford, 60, $26289.
9. (6) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 60, $26264.
10. (5) Joey Logano, Ford, 60, $26239.
11. (20) Bobby Labonte, Toyota, 60, $26214.
12. (15) David Gilliland, Ford, 60, $26189.
13. (22) Joe Nemechek(i), Toyota, 60, $26164.
14. (16) Michael Waltrip, Toyota, 60, $26139.
15. (18) Scott Speed, Ford, 60, $26114.
16. (21) David Reutimann, Toyota, 60, $26089.
17. (1) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 60, $26064.
18. (19) Regan Smith(i), Chevrolet, 60, $26014.
19. (10) Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, 60, $25989.
20. (4) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 59, $25964.
21. (23) Brian Keselowski, Toyota, 58, $25914.
22. (9) Carl Edwards, Ford, Accident, 52, $25889.
23. (2) Trevor Bayne(i), Ford, Accident, 52, $25839.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 177.282 mph.
Time of Race: 00 Hrs, 50 Mins, 46 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.165 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 1 for 3 laps.
Lead Changes: 4 among 2 drivers.
Lap Leaders: 0; T. Bayne(i) 1-36; K. Harvick 37-40; T. Bayne(i) 41; K. Harvick 42-60.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): T. Bayne(i) 2 times for 37 laps; K. Harvick 2 times for 23 laps.
Top 12 in Points: K. Harvick – 47; G. Biffle – 42; J. Montoya – 41; J. Johnson – 40; K. Busch – 39; T. Stewart – 38; Brad Keselowski – 37; C. Mears – 36; D. Earnhardt Jr. – 35; J. Logano – 34; B. Labonte – 33; D. Gilliland – 32.