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Kevin Harvick wins first Daytona 500 duel race

Kevin Harvick 2013 Daytona 500 duel

Kevin Harvick won the first of the 150-mile 'Duel' qualifying races at Daytona on Thursday afternoon, setting one half of the grid for Sunday's showpiece 500-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup opener.

This race featured the 500 polesitter, Danica Patrick, plus the entrants that finished in the odd-numbered positions from qualifying last Sunday.

Patrick failed to lead the opening lap though, as fellow front-row sitter Trevor Bayne hit the front form the outside lane.

Bayne led the opening half of the race, until Harvick found a way to make the inside line work and he drafted past just before the pitstops.

Swift service kept Harvick, who also won last Saturday's Sprint Unlimited non-points event, out front. He headed Greg Biffle, Martin Truex Jr and Jimmie Johnson until the race's only caution with less than 10 laps to go.

Denny Hamlin got loose off Turn 2 and clipped Carl Edwards, sending the Roush Fenway Ford driver head-on into the wall. He was unhurt.

"I was minding my own business," said Edwards. "I saw in my mirror Denny get sideways - I thought 'what in the blip'!

Daytona Duel crash"It's the fourth time we've wrecked a car down here. The car's broke. She's all torn up. At least I know what the wrecks look like here."

Also involved were Bayne and Regan Smith, who collided in a secondary incident after Bayne had already hit Edwards.

Harvick kept the lead at the restart, holding off Biffle as he did on Saturday, ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya, Johnson and Kurt Busch. Montoya did an amazing job to charge to third after he restarted 13th following a pitstop for lengthy repairs under yellow.

Winner Harvick said: "The cars are a lot free-er [compared to the night race], but you have to be precise with the timing in the draft, or you get hung out. It was a great race for us again."

Patrick finished in 17th and said: "I learned some. Harvick's got it figured out, hasn't he? The top line is the way to go. I lifted a little at the start. I was really tight in that race."

After the race, Truex was penalised for not having his side window in place, which guaranteed ex-Formula 1 racer Scott Speed's starting spot in the 500.

Results - 60 laps:

Pos  Driver              Team/Car                       Time/Gap
 1.  Kevin Harvick       Childress Chevrolet          50m40.000s
 2.  Greg Biffle         Roush Fenway Ford              + 0.165s
 3.  Juan Pablo Montoya  Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet    + 0.354s
 4.  Jimmie Johnson      Hendrick Chevrolet             + 0.379s
 5.  Kurt Busch          Furniture Row Chevrolet        + 0.446s
 6.  Tony Stewart        Stewart-Haas Chevrolet         + 0.535s
 7.  Brad Keselowski     Penske Ford                    + 0.593s
 8.  Casey Mears         Germain Ford                   + 0.622s
 9.  Dale Earnhardt Jr   Hendrick Chevrolet             + 0.678s
10.  Joey Logano         Penske Ford                    + 0.730s
11.  Bobby Labonte       JTG Daugherty Toyota           + 0.738s
12.  David Gilliland     Front Row Ford                 + 0.811s
13.  Joe Nemechek        NEMCO Toyota                   + 0.829s
14.  Michael Waltrip     Waltrip Toyota                 + 0.854s
15.  Scott Speed         Leavine Ford                   + 0.944s
16.  David Reutimann     BK Ford                        + 0.961s
17.  Danica Patrick      Stewart-Haas Chevrolet         + 6.294s
18.  Regan Smith         Finch Chevrolet               + 31.440s
19.  Martin Truex Jr     Waltrip Toyota                + 31.907s
20.  Denny Hamlin        Gibbs Toyota 		         + 1 lap 
21.  Brian Keselowski    Keseolwski Toyota              + 2 laps

Did not finish:

     Carl Edwards        Roush Fenway Ford               + 8 laps
     Trevor Bayne        Wood Brothers Ford              + 8 laps

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