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Harvick victorious in first race of 2013

Richard Childress Racing's Kevin Harvick emerged with his third win in the Daytona Unlimited pre-season exhibition race, after an early accident claimed a third of the field.
Kevin Harvick claimed the first win of the NASCAR racing calendar with victory in the Daytona Unlimited exhibition event at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night.

It's the third time in nine outings that the Richard Childress Racing driver has triumphed in the pre-season race, having previously won back-to-back wins in 2009 and 2010 when the race was called the Budweiser Shootout.

Last year's event winner Kyle Buch was among six cars to exit the race after just 14 laps as a result of a multi-car accident, triggered by Tony Stewart moving down the track to try and get past current race leader Matt Kenseth but instead ending up getting clipped from behind by Marcos Ambrose through the apex of turns 1 and 2.

"I self-cleared myself, I guess," explained Stewart, admitting it had been his mistake. "I went down before the spotter cleared me. I thought I had a big enough run that I cleared second, but I obviously hadn't and I just barely nicked him. I just needed about two more inches."

Stewart was able to hold on to the #14 and avoid a wreck, but other cars behind him were caught out and a chain-reaction ensued that took out both Busch and his brother Kurt - the 2011 winner of the event - together with Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Mark Martin, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin who all took heavy damage in the accident.

"I didn't see much," confess Johnson when asked about the accident that sidelined him. "I was just kind of cruising along and I saw sparks in front of me. I knew that wasn't good. Then before I knew it just the cars inside of me and around me everybody just slid up the race track and into me and around we went."

Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports team mate Jeff Gordon was similarly caught out by the early incident. "I saw somebody loose on the inside and the outside lane somehow was affected by it and it was a domino by the time it got back to me and we were in it," he said. "I couldn't see much. We were in that bottom lane that just got shuffled back early and so we were just slowly working our way back up there.

"I saw handling started to become an issue for quite a few guys, a little bit for myself, but not too bad," he added. "I just saw somebody get sideways going down into (turn) one and then our lane checked up and they started getting turned and we started wrecking."

"Once someone bobbles, we're all on top of each other, so everyone's braking point and reaction time is going to be different,” said Denny Hamlin. "And then guys start getting run over. That was kind of the case.”




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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 16, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by John Harrelson/NASCAR via Getty Images)  (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 16, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota, Mark Martin, driver of the #55 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Yellow Chevrolet, are involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 16, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) (Photo Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota, Mark Martin, driver of the #55 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Yellow Chevrolet, are involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 16, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) (Photo Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, talks with the media following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finished in 26th position and Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Chevrolet SS finished in 13th position Sunday, October 19, 2014 in the final Contender 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. Gordon, who was in the Chase, advances to the Eliminator 8 phase of the Chase which begins next week at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS finished in 9th position Sunday, October 19, 2014 in the final Contender 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. Harvick, who was in the Chase, advances to the Eliminator 8 phase of the Chase which begins next week at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Smithfield Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Halloween Toyota, are involved in an on track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Cessna Chevrolet, spin out into the grass during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Crew members work on the Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Halloween Toyota, in the garage area during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch. August 20 2014. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth at Watkins Glen. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS qualified for 39th position Saturday, October 18, 2014 for Sunday`s Contender 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. Harvick, who is in the Chase, is 3rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Sunday is the final round of the Contender 12 phase of the race. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS qualified for second position Saturday, October 18, 2014 for Sunday`s Contender 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. Johnson, who is in the Chase, is 11th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Sunday is the final round of the Contender 12 phase of the race. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Brian Vickers, driver of the #55 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota, poses after winning the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 18, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brian Vickers, driver of the #55 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota, celebrates with Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 18, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, talks to his crew chief, Chad Knaus, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 17, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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