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Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch Win 2013 Budweiser Duels

Kyle Busch Sums the Racing Up in Victory Lane as "Hard to Pass the Leader"


Updated February 22, 2013
The Budweiser Duel at Daytona is a pair of 150 mile qualifying races for the Daytona 500. These races determine the starting lineup for the race, except for the front row which was already locked in during qualifying.

Drivers that qualified in odd-numbered spots run the first race to set the lineup for the odd-numbered (inside line) starting positions and those in the even-numbered spots run the second race to set the lineup for the even-numbered (outside line) starting spots.

The top fifteen drivers from each duel other than the driver that has already clinched a front row starting spot will then qualify for the Daytona 500 in rows two through sixteen.

Budweiser Duel #1

Danica Patrick qualified on the pole so she also lead the field of odd-numbered starters to the green flag for this race. Since she is guaranteed to start on the front row she didn't race hard today. Instead she treated this as drafting practice and made sure that she brought the car home in one piece.

2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne started on the outside of the front row. Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin made up row number two.

Denny Hamlin gave Trevor Bayne a big push on the outside and Bayne lead lap one. The inside and outside lanes stayed pretty much intact in the early going but the outside lane edged ahead. This was similar to what we saw during the Sprint Unlimited last weekend. The outside lane is the place to be and passing is difficult.

Trevor Bayne continued to lead the first half of the race until 2013 Sprint Unlimited winner Kevin Harvick pulled a line of fast cars on the bottom and took over the lead.

The leaders all dove onto pit road with twenty laps to go. Kevin Harvick won the race off pit road and lead up to the inevitable caution.

The drivers had crashed everytime that they have had the Gen 6 car in the draft. This race was no different. Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin got together With eight laps to go collecting Trevor Bayne and Regan Smith. This was Carl Edwards' fourth wreck of Speedweeks.

There were four laps to go when the green flag flew once again. Harvick picked the outside lane with Greg Biffle beside him on the bottom. Jimmie Johnson pushed Harvick on the top while Biffle lost his help on the bottom and slipped back.

It was no contest at the end. Just like he did on Saturday night Greg Biffle pushed Kevin Harvick to the win.

  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Greg Biffle
  3. Juan Pablo Montoya
  4. Jimmie Johnson
  5. Kurt Busch

Budweiser Duel #2

The even numbered drivers lined up behind Jeff Gordon who was guaranteed to start on the outside of row number one on Sunday as long as he didn't wreck it or break it today. Gordon was joined on the front row for Duel #2 by fourth place qualifier Ryan Newman. Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch made up row number two when the green flag flew.

Newman hung tough on the bottom with a car that he wrecked yesterday and lead lap one but he got shuffled out of line and Jeff Gordon took over the top spot on the outside lane for lap two and all the way to the pit stop with roughly twenty to go.

Gordon was penalized for speeding on pit road which cost him his chance at the win. This left Kyle Busch and Clint Bowyer at the head of the pack as the laps were winding down.

On the bright side this was one of the first drafting exercises of the week without a crash. On the downside this race featured single-file racing with very little passing at the front. This does not bode well for Sunday's Daytona 500.

In spite of Darrell Waltrip's best hyperbole and false excitement this was not good racing.

Kasey Kahne tried to make a move but the leader was un-passable once again and Kyle Busch picked up the win.

  1. Kyle Busch
  2. Kasey Kahne
  3. Austin Dillon
  4. Clint Bowyer
  5. Matt Kenseth

Now the field is set. Next stop for the Sprint Cup drivers is the 2013 Daytona 500.

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