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article imageNASCAR: The race for the Sprint Cup is on

By John Duarte     Feb 17, 2013 in Sports
Daytona Beach - Kevin Harvick served notice that he is ready for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season by winning the Sprint Unlimited event on Saturday night.
The Sprint Unlimited, formerly known as the Budweiser Shootout, is an exhibition event that kicks off Daytona Speedweeks and leads into the running of the Daytona 500, on Feb. 24. The field for the Unlimited consisted of the 19 drivers who won pole positions during last year’s Sprint Cup Series and past winners of the Sprint Unlimited/Budweiser Shootout event. Oddly enough, neither 2012 Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski nor runner-up Clint Bowyer took part in the event.
Harvick seemed to be in control throughout the 75-lap race and cruised to the win ahead of Stewart and Greg Biffle. A crash early in the race took out several of the contenders, including Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle and Kurt Busch.
Harvick has won three of the last five Sprint Unlimiteds, including back-to-back wins in 2009 and 2010. He becomes the third NASCAR driver to win the event three times, the other two being Tony Stewart and Dale Jarrett. Dale Earnhardt won six Sprint Unlimited events.
As much as he celebrated the win, Harvick seemed more focused on the week ahead and the Daytona 500, which goes on Feb. 24. The early weather forecast for the race is predicting temperatures in the low 80s, which suits Harvick just fine.
“When we were here at the test, there were a lot of handling issues with the car sliding around,” he said. “Low 80s will be exactly what we were expecting because there was zero handling issues tonight.”
NASCAR NOTES
- The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series begins with the 55th running of the Great American Race will be held on Sunday, Feb. 24. Matt Kenseth is the defending race champion.
- The pole position for the race will be determined during the first qualifying session for the race, on Sunday (Feb. 17). The Duel at Daytona, two 150-mile races to determine the rest of the Daytona 500 starting grid, will be held on Feb. 21.
- Danica Patrick was fastest in Saturday’s practice. She turned in the day’s top speed, clocking a lap at 196.220 miles per hour.
- Five NASCAR legends were enshrined in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, in Charlotte (N.C.), on Feb. 8. The inductees were: Buck Baker, the first man to win back-to-back titles in NASCAR’s top level of racing; Cotton Owens, who was both a driver and a car owner; Herb Thomas, who was the first NASCAR driver to win multiple championships; Rusty Wallace, who won 55 career races and also was the series’ winner in 1989; and Leonard Wood, who was an engine builder, mechanic and crew chief for the Wood Brothers team.
More about Nascar, Sprint cup series, Daytona 500, kevin harvick, Danica patrick
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