Kevin Harvick is no Lame Duck, taking victory in Sprint UnlimitedBy Ashley McCubbin
“That’s one for the Lame Ducks. We’ll see how many we can get.”
When the season started, there were some concerned that Kevin Harvick would not have a good season after announcing that he would leave Richard Childress Racing at season’s end to make the move over to Stewart-Hass Racing. Those jokes were put aside as Harvick led the final 12 laps on his way to winning the Sprint Unlimited. It marks his third victory in the Daytona non-points race while marking the eighth win in the event for car owner Richard Childress.
“I was really kind of nervous about the 20 and the 14,” Harvick said. “I thought they had cars stronger than ours. I want to thank Sprint and the race fans. This is for everybody in the stands and sitting at home. Good way to start off speedweeks.”
Harvick also added that when it comes to his team at the track, they don’t think about the lame duck scenario.
“I think it is one of those deals that for us, it’s all about winning races,” he said. “The politics and everything is what it is, but when we get to the race track, it’s all about winning the race. For those guys, that’s all they think about.”
Greg Biffle would finish second after trying to pull a move on Harvick on the last lap down the backstretch to try and win the event.
“The 3M Ford Fusion really was strong all night,” he said. “It seemed like some cars were better than we were and we will work on our stuff for the 500. I had a run on him at the top there and he closed the door. Kevin did what he had to do to win that race. I didn’t think there was room to stick it in there. I thought we would end up wrecked. I looked in the mirror but didn’t have any help. I was against his bumper but couldn’t do anything. I am happy to come home second. I have been so close so many times here at Daytona. It would feel nice to win one.”
Joey Logano would take third in his first start with Penske Racing after initiating the moves on the last lap of the race by diving out of the single-file line in the tri-oval coming to the white flag.
“It is hard to make a move with these cars and the runs aren’t big enough,” Logano said. “The old car had a really big run and these cars don’t have a huge run. You are trying to get everyone to form up and tighten up and everyone is trying to do the same thing. I just checked up a little on the front stretch and made my move from seventh and I knew it wasn’t enough to get to the front but I knew the 20 was fast and he would push me along. We made the best of it.”
Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth would finish fourth and fifth after leading a chunk of the race each.
For Stewart, it wasn’t a clean race as he would trigger a wreck on lap 15 after trying to make a move on Kenseth for the lead.
“I got a big run on the 20 (Kenseth), and went on the bottom, and the spotter didn’t clear me so I went before I knew,” Stewart said. “I was trying to make a move for the lead, and was probably a little anxious. I was feeling good about moving up, a little too racey.”
Stewart would save the car, however the field would accordian behind him and contact between Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson would trigger a pile-up, collecting Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch. It marks the second wreck of the weekend for both Martin and Kurt Busch after they wrecked during the first Sprint Unlimited practice session.
“I haven’t seen the replay yet but I saw a car sideways and I thought we were all going to fine and then the cars up higher on the track tangled for some reason and that’s when the wreck really happened,” Martin said. “I was headed through, squeezed Martin (Truex Jr.) down and looked like I was going to make it through. Gosh, we didn’t get that far did we?”
“It wasn’t bad,” Kyle Busch said. “We really and’t gotten going yet. Just really unfortunate as we. Just don’t know what happened. Some car got sideways and then the 11 and 48 got together and we got sandwiched into the fence. Just feel bad for these M&M guys for all their hard work getting crashed out. Not enough pieces to make it go around again. I think it’s hurt on every corner.”
“That was way too short,” Gordon said. “Half the battle and goal was to learn something for next week’s Duel and 500. The cars, as far back as I was, become a handful. I was handling good, just need more speed so I’ll work on it. I saw some guy got sideways on the inside, and it dominoed all the way back to the outside lane.”
“I saw sparks in front of me and what started that and knew it wasn’t going to end well and sure enough, I was collected,” Johnson said. “Didn’t get many laps. The 14 and I were working on the outside. Got some ideas for the 500 set-up. “
“Whatever happened with Stewart – whether he got loose or got hit. Wished we could’ve ran a little bit more, but that’s what happened,” Hamlin said.
Daytona Speedweeks will continue tomorrow with Daytona 500 qualifying.
Sprint Unlimited Unofficial Results
- Kevin Harvick
- Greg Biffle
- Joey Logano
- Tony Stewart
- Matt Kenseth
- Aric Almirola
- Kasey Kahne
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Juan Pablo Montoya
- Marcos Ambrose
- Carl Edwards
- Kurt Busch
- Jimmie Johnson
- Denny Hamlin
- Kyle Busch
- Jeff Gordon
- Mark Martin
- Terry Labonte