Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch Win Budweiser Duel At Daytona
By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Kyle Busch can send a thank-you note to Jeff Gordon
And Kevin Harvick is two for two.
In Thursday's second Budweiser Duel 150-mile qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway, Busch inherited the lead when Gordon, who had led all but one lap before pitting on Lap 40, was flagged for speeding on pit road.
The ensuing pass-through penalty handed Busch the top spot, and in a caution-free race (despite Ryan Newman's spin near the entrance to pit road on Lap 40), Busch held off runner-up Kasey Kahne and Austin Dillon to earn the fourth starting spot in Sunday's Daytona 500.
Busch didn't take tires during a quick pit stop on Lap 40, and that impromptu call by crew chief Dave Rogers was what got him to the front.
"That was not our original plan," Busch revealed after the race. "Our original plan was two tires, but he (Rogers) called it. They were just harping on me to make sure, don't slide your tires. Because you don't want to slide a left front (tire) and then have to take four. So, when I came down, I got a good braking mark and I got slowed down and started to slow down nice and smooth and then Marcos (Ambrose) was locked up in front of me sliding all of the tires so I had to go around him.
"So, I felt like I got a really good pit road entry. I felt like I ran good pit road speed all of the way down pit road and getting into my box was great. The guys just filled the tank for five seconds. It's all we needed and we ended up back here. We got out front where it mattered most and got teamed up with a couple of Toyota's which was great.
Harvick, the winner of Saturday night's Sprint Unlimited, doubled up in Thursday's first Duel, with Greg Biffle running second, as he did on Saturday night.
Harvick led every lap from 37 through 60 -- save for losing it to Bayne during an exchange of pit stops on Lap 41 -- in grabbing the third starting spot for Sunday's Daytona 500. He won the race in a four-lap shootout after Denny Hamlin got sideways and caused the only caution of the race.
Traveling in the outside lane, Hamlin's No. 11 Toyota got loose and turned into the Ford of Carl Edwards, who nosed hard into the outside backstretch wall. The cars of Trevor Bayne and Regan Smith also were damaged in the wreck.
The Wood Brothers, Bayne's team, will go to a back-up car for the Daytona 500, and Bayne will start from the rear because of the equipment change.
Brian Keselowski, who finished 21st in the first Duel, was eliminated from the Daytona 500 field. Mike Bliss, who ran 22nd in the second Duel, was the other driver who failed to qualify for Sunday's race.
Daytona 500 pole winner Danica Patrick, who finished 17th in the first Duel with her car intact, led the field to green but didn't stay at the front for long. With the outside lane clearly the fastest way around the 2.5-mile superspeedway, Patrick dropped out of the top six on Lap 5 and worked her way to the rear of the field along with Stewart, her car owner.
Patrick will make history Sunday when she leads the field to green, but Harvick and Busch may share some history of their own. With Daytona announcing Thursday that next year's Duels will be held at night, Harvick and Busch may be the last two drivers to win the races in daylight.
After Patrick's trek to the rear, the field went single-file, running at the top of the track near the wall. Bayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 winner, led the first 36 laps, before Harvick decided to make a move and grabbed the top spot on Lap 37.
"We didn't come here to run 10th or 12th, wherever we were running," said Harvick, who made his move on the inside lane. "We wanted to make something happen. We felt like we probably could have made something happen before that, if we had a car behind us to fill in those gaps in front of us.
"(Other cars) were making up ground on the bottom. Everybody seemed content on the top. We slid down in front of the 99 (Carl Edwards), started side-drafting. Next thing you know, we had four or five of them pulled apart and were making some headway.
"We drove pretty much all the way to the front and kind of changed the complexion of the race at that particular point."
Harvick remained at the point after coming to pit road for a green-flag stop on Lap 42. The pit stops segmented the field, and by Lap 50, Harvick was at the head of a four-car breakaway that included Biffle, Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson.
But the first caution of the race erased the advantage of the lead group and bunched the field for a restart on Lap 57.
Juan Pablo Montoya ran third in the first Duel, followed by Johnson and Kurt Busch. Clint Bowyer and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top five in the second Duel.
Notes: Harvick picked up his first win in a Duel qualifying race, Busch his second... Busch's winning average speed of 193.966 mph was second only to the record 194.175 mph Kenseth set last year.
RACE RESULTS -- BUDWEISER 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.
RACE STATISTICS -- BUDWEISER DUEL #1
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: D. Patrick 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.
RACE STATISTICS -- BUDWEISER DUEL #2
1. (4) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 60, $58977.
2. (3) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 60, $43963.
3. (8) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 60, $38963.
4. (9) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 60, $33963.
5. (5) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 60, $31963.
6. (14) Mark Martin, Toyota, 60, $29563.
7. (7) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 60, $28463.
8. (10) Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, 60, $27463.
9. (11) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 60, $27438.
10. (15) David Ragan, Ford, 60, $27413.
11. (12) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 60, $27388.
12. (1) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 60, $27363.
13. (13) Aric Almirola, Ford, 60, $27338.
14. (6) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 59, $27313.
15. (19) Dave Blaney, Chevrolet, 59, $27288.
16. (16) Josh Wise, Ford, 59, $27263.
17. (21) Travis Kvapil, Toyota, 59, $27238.
18. (18) Terry Labonte, Ford, 59, $27188.
19. (17) Michael McDowell, Ford, 59, $27163.
20. (20) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, 59, $27138.
21. (2) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 58, $27088.
22. (22) Mike Bliss, Chevrolet, 55, $27063.
RACE STATISTICS -- BUDWEISER DUEL #2
Average Speed of Race Winner: 193.966 mph.
Time of Race: 0 Hrs, 46 Mins, 24 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.093 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 0 for 0 laps.
Lead Changes: 6 among 5 drivers.
Lap Leaders: J. Gordon 0; R. Newman 1; J. Gordon 2-39; M. Ambrose 40; Kyle Busch 41-51; C. Bowyer 52; Kyle Busch 53-60.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): J. Gordon 1 time for 38 laps; Kyle Busch 2 times for 19 laps; C. Bowyer 1 time for 1 lap; R. Newman 1 time for 1 lap; M. Ambrose 1 time for 1 lap.
Top 12 in Points: K. Busch - 47; K. Kahne - 42; C. Bowyer - 41; M. Kenseth - 39; M. Martin - 38; P. Menard - 37; J. Burton - 36; J. McMurray - 35; D. Ragan - 34; M. Ambrose - 34; J. Gordon - 34; A. Almirola - 31.